POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah Senators divided as U.S. Senate passes aid for Ukraine, Israel

Feb 13, 2024, 12:00 PM | Updated: 3:22 pm

romney lee recognize biden president-elect, Senators Lee and Romney weigh in on the passage of the ...

Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee (Photo: Associated Press, Deseret News)

(Photo: Associated Press, Deseret News)

WASHINGTON D.C.– Utah Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee sharply diverged about a $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine and Israel.

Romney in favor of the bill

Sen. Mitt Romney spoke to his Senate colleagues ahead of Tuesday’s vote. He encouraged them to support sending aid to Ukraine and Israel. On the Senate floor, Romney said, “[This] is the most important vote we will ever take as United States senators.”

Romney said failing to help Ukraine would not only lead Russia to take control of the country but also lead Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade another European nation, namely one that’s part of NATO.

“He may delay his next invasion until he rebuilds his decimated military, but, we must be clear-eyed,” Romney said. “Ukraine is not the end, it is a step.”

Additionally, Romney said not helping Ukraine would lead to China taking Taiwan, and that it would have a direct impact on how allies and the world view the U.S.

The price for voting against Ukraine aid

“If we fail to help Ukraine, we will abandon our word and our commitment…providing to our friends a view that America cannot be trusted,” Romney said.

“If we fail to help Ukraine, America will cease to be the arsenal of democracy…the leader of the free world. We will be replaced by the authoritarians: China, Russia, Iran [and] North Korea.” Romney continued, “If your position is being cheered by Vladimir Putin, it’s [time] to reconsider your position.” 

Romney addressed objections by some lawmakers to oppose the spending legislation. While some lawmakers believe the other members of NATO have not given their fair share to help Ukraine, Romney noted that allies have already contributed more than $96 billion. The European Union also agreed to provide $54 billion over the next four years.

Romney acknowledged some lawmakers believe helping Ukraine weakens the country’s national security. However, Romney argued the opposite, citing the Department of Defense who said it would help the U.S. national security.

He ended his remarks by saying “Helping a free people defend their freedom is simply the right thing to do.”

Lee opposes and filibusters

Sen. Mike Lee was among a small group of Republican senators who filibustered the aid bill. He clocked in at four hours during a speech on Saturday.

Sen. Lee took to X, Tuesday morning to speak against the bill saying the passage would betray the American people.

 

The bill now moves to the House for a vote. Speaker Mike Johnson criticized the bill and said he would oppose it. 

Related: Gov. Cox to send National Guard and UHP troopers to Texas border

 

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Utah Senators divided as U.S. Senate passes aid for Ukraine, Israel