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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Senate Moving Toward Passage Of The National Security Supplemental Aid Package To Defend Democracy In Its Hour Of Need

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor following the cloture vote on the national security supplemental aid package, moving the Senate one step closer to sending the bill to President Biden’s desk. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Today the Senate sends a unified message to the entire world: America will always defend democracy in its hour of need.

We tell our allies: we will stand with you. We tell our adversaries: don’t mess with us. We tell the world: we will do everything to defend democracy and our way of life.

In a resounding bipartisan vote, the relentless work of six long months has paid off: Congress is sending the supplemental to President Biden’s desk.

Getting this done was one of the greatest achievements the Senate has faced in years, perhaps decades. A lot of people inside and outside Congress wanted this package to fail. But today, those in the Congress who stand on the side of democracy are winning the day.

To our friends in Ukraine, to our allies in NATO, to our allies in Israel, and to civilians around the world in need of aid: help is on the way.

To our friends in Ukraine: America will soon deliver more ammo and air defenses and basic supplies you need to resist Putin on the battlefield.

To our friends in Israel: America will soon deliver aid to help you fight the scourge of Hamas and stand up to Iran.

To innocent civilians in the midst of war, from Gaza to Sudan: America will deliver food and medicine and clothing.

And to our friends in the Indo-Pacific: we will stand with you to resist the Chinese Communist Party.

And to the whole world: make no mistake, America will deliver on its promise to act like a leader on the world stage, to hold the line against autocratic thugs like Vladimir Putin.

A few months ago Putin made a bet that American aid would sooner or later come to an end. We are showing Putin that betting against America is always – always – a grave mistake.

Over the past few months, I’ve spoken repeatedly and at length about the supreme importance of getting this supplemental package done.

Starting in October, and through Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years and into the spring, I said again and again that we had to work in a bipartisan way – Democrats and Republicans alike – if we wanted to pass this bill.

And when we succeeded in getting the supplemental through the Senate the first time in February, it was for two reasons above all: persistence and bipartisanship.

At certain points it might have seemed hard to see how we’d reach out goal, but we never lost hope that if we persisted we could finish the job.

Today, thank God, our persistence has been validated, and the bill sent to us by the House is largely the same bill in substance as what the Senate has championed all along.

It wasn’t easy to reach this point, but today’s outcome yet again confirms another thing we’ve stressed from the beginning of this Congress. In divided government, the only way to ever get things done is through bipartisanship. I am very pleased that in this moment, when it mattered most, both parties found a way to work together even when it wasn’t easy. Again: persistence and bipartisanship is what saved the day.

Leader McConnell and I, who don’t always agree, worked hand-in-hand and shoulder-to-shoulder to get this bill done. Together, we were bipartisan and persistent.

Now, it is troubling that a very small minority within the hard-right tried desperately for months to prevent Congress from doing the right thing.

These isolationists have now secured their ignominious place in history as the ones who’d see America stick its head in the sand as our enemies sought to undermine us. Had they won, they would have presided over a declining America. I am glad that today we will see that effort fail.

This is an inflection point in history. Western democracy faces perhaps its greatest test since the end of the Cold War.

The conflicts we see right now in Europe, in the Middle East, and the tensions of the Indo-Pacific, will go a long way in shaping the balance of power between democracy and autocracy in the decades to come. And the consequences for America’s long-term security will be profound.

If Putin is allowed to seize the territory of a neighboring sovereign nation, if the Chinese Communist Party is allowed to consume the Indo­-Pacific, if Iran is allowed to dominate in the Middle East, and if America were to stand by and do nothing, it is the United States that would suffer the consequences most of all in the long run.

Failure to act now could not only undermine the legitimacy of our democratic values, it would have impacts across American life. It would hurt us politically, economically, militarily, and socially.

It could harm the competitiveness of U.S. businesses, endanger the safety of our troops, cripple America’s innovative potential, and make the world a more hostile place for our civic values – individual liberty, freedom of expression, equal justice under law, and opportunity for all. We always try live up to these ideals, but they will not survive if autocratic powers like Putin and the Chinese Communist Party overtake America in this century.

That is what’s at stake in the war in Ukraine where we face Putin.

That is what’s at stake in the Indo-Pacific where we face Xi.

That is what is at stake in conflicts in the Middle East where we face Iran.

Nothing less – nothing less – than the future of American security, and the future of the democratic order that has survived since the end of the Second World War.

So, we have a choice: we can either make a down payment now on defending our security, or find ourselves on the back foot facing much graver threats in the years and decades to come. The only answer is the right one: we must act now.

We have learned in recent years that democracy is a fragile and precious thing. It will not survive the threats of this century, the new threats, if we aren’t willing to do what it takes to defend it. And if America will not lead the way to protect democracy in this age, no other nation will. That is the burden, that is the duty of a nation as great as ours.

There are so many people on both sides of the aisle who deserve credit for this immense accomplishment. I thank President Biden for his stalwart leadership – he never flinched or winced, he knew how important this is and was always working with us and importuning us to move forward.

I thank Leader McConnell, as I mentioned before, working hand-in-hand with us, not letting partisanship get in the way.

I thank Speaker Johnson, who rose to the occasion, and in his own words said he had to do the right thing despite the enormous political pressure on him.

And I thank Leader Jeffries, who worked so well together in his bipartisan way with Speaker Johnson.

And let me say this about my friend the Republican Leader: we were of one mind to get this bill done. It was our bipartisanship, our linking of arms together, that got this large and difficult bill through the Congress, despite many political ideologues who wanted to bring it down. Bipartisanship once again prevailed, and I thank him for his leadership.

I also wish to thank all my Senate colleagues, particularly my caucus. The dedication and unity and strength that you have shown has made this possible. I was able, as Leader, to work with the Republican Leader in the House, the Speaker, the Minority Leader in the House and the President, because I knew I had a full caucus behind us, strongly, fervently. The speeches that we heard at our Tuesday lunches, made by many of you who are sitting here, would make every American proud, and I thank you, thank you, thank you for that.

For the past six months, our friends and allies across the world have been watching what’s been going on in Congress and asking themselves the same thing: will America stand by her friends to face down the forces of autocracy? Will America follow through on its commitment to be a leader on the world stage and safeguard the cause of democracy? Will America summon the strength to come together, overcome the centrifugal pull of partisanship, and rise once again to meet the magnitude of the moment?

Today, with both parties working together, the Senate answers these questions with a thunderous and resounding yes.