Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to a joint meeting of Congress this evening. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Mr. President, I see you are in your Ukrainian blue and yellow, as am I.
And that’s appropriate, because this will be a day to remember in the history of the United States Congress when we welcome President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine.
This is President Zelenskyy’s first trip outside Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion. The President of this young democracy will address members from both chambers in a joint meeting of Congress.
It is always a high honor to welcome a foreign head of state to Congress, but it is nearly unheard of to hear from leader who is fighting for his life, fighting for his country’s survival, and fighting to preserve the very idea of democracy. It shows the importance President Zelenskyy places on us continuing to give him robust help.
Where Winston Churchill stood generations ago, so too President Zelenskyy stands today not just as a president, but also as an ambassador of freedom itself.
Let me just say that again because it’s so important – where Winston Churchill stood generations ago, so too President Zelenskyy stands here today, not just as a president, but as an ambassador of freedom itself.
President Zelenskyy could not arrive at a more crucial moment for the Senate: we’re not only voting to approve more emergency wartime funding, but today, here in the Senate, we will also vote to confirm the US Ambassador to Russia, Lynne Tracy, who will be tasked with standing up to Putin.
We should complete our work on both – the omnibus with Ukrainian aid and the confirmation of our new ambassador to Russia – very quickly.
I hope all House Republicans will attend the Zelenskyy address this evening, and when they do, they should listen to President Zelenskyy describe the horror his people have endured at the hand of Vladimir Putin. I hope that Donald Trump’s friendship with Putin is not motivating House Republicans to turn a blind eye to Ukraine’s suffering and desperate need for help, because the so-called friendship between Putin and Trump was a sour relationship that was deeply damaging to our country and to the international order.
This week marks ten months since Vladimir Putin began his unprovoked, immoral, and savage invasion of Ukrainian territory. While the conflict is sadly not near its conclusion, Russia’s military is on its heels after a series of humiliating defeats, a testament to the Ukrainian people's bravery, resilience, and commitment to defending their homeland.
Ukraine’s success also shows that American support is working: to date, our funding has put more weapons in Ukrainian hands and more victories under their belt.
Now is not the time – not the time – to take our foot off the gas when it comes to helping Ukraine. The single worst thing we can do right now is give Putin any signal that we are wavering in our commitment to defend democracy in Ukraine and around the globe.
By passing this omnibus and confirming a new ambassador, we can send President Zelenskyy back to Ukraine with the message that the Senate, the Congress, and the American people stand unequivocally behind the people of Ukraine, and we are backing that up with real dollars and real resources.
I commend President Zelenskyy for his courage, I thank him for his leadership, and I will happily join Congress in welcoming him to the Capitol later this evening.