Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the importance and necessity to pass funding to support the people of Ukraine against Putin’s invasion. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Earlier this morning, it was my distinct honor, along with Leader McConnell, to welcome Ukrainian President Zelenskyy to the United States.
It is always a privilege to welcome a foreign head of state to the Capitol, but rarely in history have we heard directly from leader who is fighting for his country’s survival, and fighting to preserve the idea of democracy.
I told the members that right now, this courageous man is at the fulcrum of democracy and freedom, and my message to President Zelenskyy and to my colleagues was simple: America must always stand with our friends around the world, and that includes the people of Ukraine.
President Zelenskyy could not have arrived at a more crucial moment for his country and for Congress. Right now, Ukraine is engaged in a major counteroffensive against Putin’s forces, to reclaim their own territory and turn the tide of their bloody and brutal conflict.
But is it also a moment for Congress too. It is very clear that if we were to have a government shutdown, or pass a CR without Ukrainian aid, the damage that would occur on Ukraine’s campaign would be devastating. In fact, to quote President Zelenskyy in the room, and this is a quote, he said: “If we don't get the aid, we will lose the war.” That's a quote from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. That's how stark the issue is.
Nothing would make Putin happier right now than to see the United States waver in our support for the Ukrainian people. This is not just about Ukrainian security, but as President Zelenskyy reminded us, it's about American security as well because a victorious Putin would be an emboldened Putin. What is the point of cutting off support now when we are at a turning point in the war, when we have invested a large amount of resources to get us to this turning point?
To be sure, there are some on the hard right who say we should abandon Ukraine and negotiate with Putin. It’s ironic that the hard right, which historically opposed communism, now openly flirts with autocrats like Putin. Giving Putin what he wants – for America to abandon Ukraine, that is what Putin wants – would be a terrible, terrible mistake, and one I think that would come back to haunt us more rapidly and quickly than people believe.
Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas when it comes to helping Ukraine. Turning our backs would make the world less safe for American democracy.
I commend President Zelenskyy for his leadership during this unprecedented moment in his country’s history. I thank him for his visit. I thank him for his courage. I thank him for his steadfastness. And I will keep working to ensure we continue supporting the Ukrainian people.