Schumer’s Ukraine Visit: Urgent Message for House Speaker Johnson


Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, positions himself strongly in support of Ukraine while Republicans remain divided

Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and four of his Democrat colleagues arrived in Ukraine Friday morning to meet the country’s military leaders and President Volodomyr Zelenskyy, assuring U.S. support as billions of federal aid dollars remain in limbo.

Schumer’s visit in Ukraine, which will mark two years of Russia’s invasion this Saturday, comes amid increasing pressure on House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to pass Senate’s $95 Billion Foreign Aid Package that would provide $60 Billion in military assistance to the Eastern European nation to defeat Russian forces.

Schumer stated that “when we return from Ukraine, we will make it clear to Speaker Johnson – and others in Congress who are blocking military & economic assistance–exactly the issues at stake in Ukraine for the rest Europe, for free world Congress must approve the Senate’s National Security Bill.”

Schumer stated that the trip had four goals: to show unwavering support to the Ukrainian people; to reaffirm America’s commitment to NATO allies and European countries; to gain a thorough understanding of Ukraine’s needs for armament and the possible consequences of not meeting them and finally, “we believe we’re at an inflection in history and must make it clear to allies and friends around the world that the US doesn’t back away from its responsibilities.”

All four Democrats who will be joining Schumer at Lviv include Sen. Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut, Jack Reed, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire, the chairwoman of Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Sen. Michael Bennet, a member the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In 2022, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Leader, led a Republican delegation to this nation in Eastern Europe.

Kyrylo Budanov poses for a photo at an unidentified location in Ukraine, on July 13th.

Republicans are divided on the issue of additional aid for Ukraine. The package will face an uphill struggle in the GOP-led House upon their return from recess as lawmakers have already laid the groundwork for a back-up plan. Zelenskyy, a Ukrainian-American politician, has been calling on the U.S. for months to continue their financial support of the war-torn country.

Last week, as Republican legislators thwarted any chances of the Senate’s $95 Billion aid package reaching the floor, the House released a 30-page alternative plan. Johnson and other Republicans insist that the southern border must be secured before additional Ukraine aid is approved.

Democrats and Republicans alike still believe that it’s in the U.S. best interests to assist Kyiv to remain independent from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that defeating the authoritarian is crucial to avoid a wider and more intense conflict.

In Kyiv Ukraine, on February 20, 2023, President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Saint Michael’s Cathedral amid Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.

Republicans, who have been critical towards Ukraine, argue that the funds are not properly supervised. The lawmakers cite a Department of Defense report from January, the latest in a series of government publications that highlight deficiencies in the oversight of U.S. assistance to Ukraine. This report highlights the inadequacy of both the Biden Administration and the Ukrainian Armed Forces in monitoring U.S. supplied weapons.

The inspector general’s report focuses on enhanced end-use (EEUM) monitoring, a classification for weapons which “incorporate sensitive technologies,” are “particularly vulnerable to diversion or misappropriation,” or have “serious implications” if misused or diverted.

The report states that 59% of the $1.699 billion worth of EEUM weapons shipped to Ukraine were classified as “delinquent”. The report states that the weapons were not tracked according to DOD standards.