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See where Iowa’s delegation stands on more aid to Ukraine
Members, opposing funding bill, urge support for Ukraine
Members of Iowa’s congressional delegation praised Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and pledged ongoing support for the country’s war effort — but oppose a $1.7 trillion spending bill that includes another large round of aid to Ukraine.
Wednesday night, Zelenskyy told cheering U.S. legislators during a defiant wartime visit to the nation’s capital that against all odds his country still stands, thanking Americans for helping to fund the war.
Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, said in a tweet it was great to be there for the historic speech and that “Americans & Ukrainians are partners for democracy; Zelenskyy made that very clear.”
Grassley and fellow Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst — both of whom have advocated for and supported sending lethal aid to Ukraine — voted against the omnibus spending bill. The legislation includes about $45 billion in military, economic and humanitarian assistance for the devastated nation and NATO allies, raising total assistance so far to more than $100 billion.
Grassley, in a statement, said the package included excessive spending, earmarks and special projects with little review.
"While many things were included in this bill that I do support, the broken process led to a final product that, taken as a whole, is too expensive and contains too many items that should never have been included,“ he said. ”For these reasons, I cannot support this bill.“
Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, who said she intends to vote against the spending package, echoed Grassley during a conference call with reporters Thursday.
Grassley’s office, though, pointed to a lengthy list of legislation, letters, floor speeches and statements the senator has made in support of Ukraine. That includes urging President Joe Biden earlier this year to immediately transfer much-needed air power and other support to Ukraine. Grassley also signed on to a letter to the Secretary of Defense, urging him to send more advanced artillery rocket systems and ammunition to Ukraine.
Additionally, the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Grassley and Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin shortly before Zelenskyy’s visit that expands the original war crimes jurisdiction to include any war criminal found in the United States.
Ernst echoed Grassley, tweeting that “Washington’s budget process is completely broken” and that the massive, last-minute, 4,200-page spending package “is a lump of coal.”
A combat veteran and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Ernst was a member of the escort committee greeting Zelenskyy at the Capitol.
“President Zelenskyy displayed the great resolve of the Ukrainian people throughout Russia’s brutal war and emphasized the enduring cause of standing by our partner,” Ernst said in a statement. “Putin’s aggression threatens both Ukraine and our allies in Europe, ultimately endangering American security and prosperity at home. Continued assistance to Ukraine — with transparency and accountability for American taxpayers — degrades the Russian military and serves our national security.”
Ernst secured a provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act to provide training to Ukrainian forces to demine the Black Sea.
In November, Ernst led a bipartisan effort to urge the Pentagon to arm Ukrainian forces with Gray Eagle drones. And earlier this month, she participated in a panel at the Reagan National Defense Forum on the war in Ukraine.
Hinson, of Marion, said Zelenskyy’s speech “put in perspective for the American people of what the folks in Ukraine are with in their battle against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”
“It’s an unprecedented, illegal invasion. And the U.S. has given Ukraine significant support,” Hinson said. “I’ve supported billions of dollars in funding to go to Ukraine, and we will continue to ensure that Ukraine is armed with the weapons that they need to win this war,” while ensuring that there is transparency and accountability.
“So as long as those things are met, I will continue to be part of the conversations about how we support Ukraine, not only financially, but as well as we can militarily,” she said.
Spokespersons for Iowa Republican U.S. Reps. Randy Feenstra and Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Cindy Axne, a Democrat, and Republican Iowa U.S. Rep.-elect Zach Nunn did not respond to requests for comment Thursday afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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