March 12, 2024

Chairman Aguilar: Stand with us to ensure America remains a leader of the free world or stand with Vladimir Putin

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu held a press conference alongside Congressman Jason Crow and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean on how House Republicans are siding with Vladimir Putin and blocking urgent national security funding to Ukraine.

CHAIRMAN AGUILAR: Good morning. Vice Chair Lieu and I are pleased to be joined by House Foreign Affairs Committee leaders, Madeleine Dean and Jason Crow. 

While Donald Trump dines with dictators like Viktor Orban, President Biden and House Democrats want to defend democracy, both at home and abroad. Vladimir Putin is marching across Europe, and he will not stop if he conquers Ukraine. And Donald Trump has encouraged Russia to attack “whoever the hell they want,”— even if it means a NATO ally. 

This isn't just an applause line for the MAGA base. This has been Donald Trump's foreign policy approach as President. He wants to weaken NATO and empower dictators who trample human rights and international law. House Republicans continue to do Donald Trump's bidding by blocking help to Ukraine to defeat Putin. 

House Democrats, Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans are trying to pass urgent national security funding because Ukraine is running out of ammunition and they're running out of time. We have a straightforward path to deliver the aid Ukraine needs to fight back and that's by passing the Senate's national security supplemental without delay. 

House Republicans have a choice: Stand with us to ensure America remains a leader of the free world or stand with Vladimir Putin. 

Vice Chair Ted Lieu. 

VICE CHAIR LIEU: Thank you, Chairman Aguilar. Last Thursday, President Biden gave a commanding State of the Union Address. He was strong. He was agile. He delivered a vision for America focused on lowering costs, protecting national security, protecting Social Security and Medicare. 

At some points, he also stuttered and that's because President Biden has had a lifelong issue with stuttering from when he was a child. Donald Trump, this weekend, made fun of President Biden's stutter. Donald Trump has made fun of people with disabilities; he had a record of doing that. Donald Trump is an embarrassment to the United States of America and Trump should apologize to everyone who stutters and every family member that has a member who stutters.

We also saw that President Biden has delivered a budget to Congress, and this budget lowers costs, it reduces the deficit and it protects Social Security and Medicare. That's in contrast to Donald Trump's budgets when he submitted as President that cut Social Security and Medicare. And just this weekend, Donald Trump said again that there's a lot you can do on entitlements, including cutting Social Security and Medicare. President Biden and Democrats will defend Social Security and Medicare and protect them from being cut. 

And now, it's my great honor to introduce my colleague who I serve with on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, the great Madeleine Dean from Pennsylvania.

CONGRESSWOMAN DEAN: Very generous, thank you. 

I'm delighted to be here with all of you today to raise the urgency about our support for Ukraine. I'm Madeleine Dean, I serve the Fourth Congressional District of Pennsylvania which is suburban Philadelphia, home to one of the largest Ukrainian American communities in our country. And for more than two years, and really for the eight years before that, I listened to my neighbors grieve as their homeland suffers incredible losses. 

In the 747 days since Putin began this war, more than 10,000 civilian Ukrainians have died, and 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed. It is Putin's campaign of relentless carnage and war crimes. And still, and still, they fight for their freedom, they fight for democracy, they fight for Ukraine and the future of Europe. It is a future that rejects Putin's brutal land-taking agenda — Georgia in 2008, Crimea in 2014 and now, more of Ukraine’s sovereign land for the last two years. 

We must ask ourselves when and where will the Russian invasion stop? Because Putin seems cruelly focused on rebuilding the Soviet Union, brazenly threatening the democratic will of European nations. 

We mustn't forget we are all connected. What happens to our European allies matters. What happens there happens to us, to our own national security, to our own economy, to our very democracy. We must fulfill our duty as the indispensable nation. We cannot stand by. We must stand committed to our allies united in democracy. For two years, the United States, President Biden, has fulfilled that promise, leading more than 50 nations in supporting and supplying Ukraine with the resources it needs to protect its people, its land and its sovereignty. 

We must not abandon Ukraine now. To do so would be a failure to protect a young democracy, a threat to our own military readiness and national security and a failure to the United States, to honor our commitment to a crucial ally. Abandoning Ukraine is to really abandon ourselves. It's simply un-American. We must pass the supplemental for full support for Ukraine. 

And now I have the pleasure of yielding to my colleague on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Jason Crow.

CONGRESSMAN CROW: Good morning, I'm Jason Crow from Colorado. I want to thank Chairman Aguilar, Vice Chair Lieu and Madeleine Dean for your leadership and support. 

There are moments in history that will dictate the course of events for generations to come — that we’ll look back on and ask, what did we do or what did we not do? We are at one of those moments. It is time to pass the national security supplemental to support Ukraine and support America's national security. 

I want to be very clear that this bill is not charity. This bill is in America's national security and economic interest. For less than five percent of what we normally spend on our defense budget, this bill will do a number of things. First, it will stop Vladimir Putin in his tracks and prevent him from rolling through Europe. Europe is America's largest trading partner. Our economy, our businesses and American workers rely on a stable, free and prosperous Europe. It's in our economic self-interest to ensure that that remains the case. Number two: it'll ensure stable food prices and food supply. A significant portion of the world's grain comes from Ukraine. And if we think Vladimir Putin will allow that to continue if he takes over Ukraine, we are fooling ourselves. So, we will secure the world's food supplies. Number three: we have 100,000 U.S. troops and their families living in Europe, and we have to protect those troops, those families and our NATO partners. 

We must pass this bill. It makes sense. It will help secure our military, our national security, our economy and we have to do it now. Ukraine is not running out of courage and bravery. Ukraine is running out of ammunition. Let's get this done.

Video of the full press conference and Q&A can be viewed here.