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U.S. Senators Shaheen, Bennet Lead Group of Senators Speaking on Senate Floor in Support of Bipartisan National Security Supplemental Funding Deal

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) led their colleagues in a Senate floor bloc to advocate for the swift passage of the national security supplemental funding bill that would provide aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian assistance to Gaza and other populations, as well as curb the flow of fentanyl into the United States.  

Ahead of the two-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, Senator Shaheen highlighted the need for the United States to uphold its commitment to Ukraine and support democratic partners across the globe. Shaheen and Bennet were joined by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chair of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

Key quotes from Senator Shaheen: 

  • “What we do today is going to determine the strength of tomorrow's autocrats because when dictators like Putin are not held accountable for their aggression, their threat to the world grows. And if we don't act quickly to support the Ukrainians, all the battles that they've won, all the land that they've reclaimed, all the progress that they've made to win back their country could be undone.”  
  • “I recognize that for a lot of Americans, including some in my home state of New Hampshire, many of the problems that this bill addresses seems like it's about far-off issues. But I want to be clear that what happens in Ukraine doesn't stay in Ukraine. Putin's illegal invasion is directly targeting American consumers; his obstruction of Ukraine's grain imports in the black sea threatened a global food security crisis – it's caused prices to rise around the world, it's caused the threat of famine in parts of Africa and other countries.”  

Shaheen’s remarks can be viewed here. Below is a full transcript of Senator Shaheen’s remarks. 

Madam President, I come to the floor this afternoon with my colleague Senator Bennet and Senator Cardin, and I think we're going to be joined shortly by others, Senators Blumenthal and Peters and I'm not sure who else, but we're here to register our strong support for the legislation that we just advanced with the vote earlier, the sixty-seven positive votes for the security supplemental.  

This bill would give critical support for partners like Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.  

It would provide humanitarian aid for Gaza and other populations.  

And equally important for us in New Hampshire, it would curb the flow of fentanyl into the United States.  

So, make no mistake, our adversaries and our allies are watching how we respond to the war in Ukraine.  

If we allow Vladimir Putin to continue his unprovoked attack on Ukraine, who knows where he's going to stop.  

What we do today is going to determine the strength of tomorrow's autocrats because when dictators like Putin are not held accountable for their aggression, their threat to the world grows.

And if we don't act quickly to support the Ukrainians, all the battles that they've won, all the land that they've reclaimed, all the progress that they've made to win back their country could be undone.  

We must not deny Ukraine the resources and weapons they need to defeat Putin once and for all.  

Right now, Ukraine is just 20% of the ammunition and artillery it needs as Russia continues its advance, and 85% of Russia's missiles are now foreign-made and Iran supplies 70% of its drone capabilities.  

You know, for anybody who's worried about Iran, and I'm on that list of people who are concerned about Iran's threat not just to the Middle East but to Ukraine and to the United States, defeating Ukraine, defeating Russia in Ukraine is one of the most important things we could do to stop the threat from Iran. 

The threats we face are so interconnected, and so our response to our adversaries must also be interconnected.  

This bipartisan supplemental funding agreement follows through on our promise to stand by our friends in Ukraine, in Israel and in the Indo-Pacific.  

We must not abandon them now.  

How will we convince our allies in the future that we're going to be there to support them if we abandon Ukraine, and say “sorry, we can't help you now?”  

I recognize that for a lot of Americans, including some in my home state of New Hampshire, many of the problems that this bill addresses seems like it's about far-off issues.  

But I want to be clear that what happens in Ukraine doesn't stay in Ukraine.  

Putin's illegal invasion is directly targeting American consumers; his obstruction of Ukraine's grain imports in the black sea threatened a global food security crisis – it's caused prices to rise around the world, it's caused the threat of famine in parts of Africa and other countries.  

America's support and coordination with our allies has helped to ensure that Ukraine can restart those exports that are needed to feed the world.  

With the support of the United States and our NATO allies, Ukraine put Russia on defense in the Black Sea.  

They've reduced Russia's formidable Black Sea fleet by 20% over just four months.  

And much of the supplemental funding for the defense department to support Ukraine is going to be spent in the United States.  

It invests over $25 billion in the American defense industrial base – that expands production lines, it strengthens the American economy, and it creates new jobs.  

These funds also ensure that our own military can back-fill our own stocks and maintain U.S. Readiness.  

Perhaps the most important piece in all of this, Putin's expansionist agenda could lead to an attack on a NATO ally, and that could draw the United States into direct conflict with Russian forces.  

We don't have to talk to too many of the countries that border Russia, or that were under former Soviet control, to hear their concern about what happens if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine; the potential for him to go into the Baltic countries, to go into Poland and Moldova.  

I have four grandsons. 

I don't want them sent off to fight in Europe or Asia years from now because Article Five is invoked from a NATO country, because we didn't take the action that we should have taken today to support Ukraine.  

You know, in the months after Russia's unprovoked invasion, I met with a Ukrainian soldier named Andriana.  

She said to me something I will not forget and that I've said to people in New Hampshire who ask me about this war.  

She said, “Give us the weapons to fight the Russians so that you don't have to.”  

Well, last year I saw her again as she recovered from a traumatic injury that she sustained on the front lines and temporarily paralyzed her.  

And you can see the challenge.  

This is Andriana as a soldier, and there she is in the hospital bed, but her spirit was not broken.  

I got a chance to see her again as she was recovering, and she reminded me that Ukraine has a motto that's much like New Hampshire's motto.  

It's “Freedom or Death.”  

That's not so different from New Hampshire's motto of “Live Free or Die.” 

My constituents understand what it means to stand up for our freedoms. 

We have a long history of doing that. 

And it's people like Andriana who we're supporting: brave defenders of democracy in Ukraine and in every corner of the world who are standing up for democracy, for us in America and democracies around the world.  

And it's critical that we support those brave Ukrainians so that they can win this war, so we can say to Vladimir Putin and autocrats across the globe, “we are not going to let you get away with taking over other countries”. 

We are not going to let you get away with the human rights atrocities that you've committed.  

For our whole history, the United States has been on the side of freedom.  

We cannot waiver now.  

We must pass this bill.  

Thank you, Madam President, I yield the floor.