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Sen. Hyde-Smith Votes Against Ukraine Aid, Wicker in Favor

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss. arrives at the capitol
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., voted against a $95 million package that included aid for Ukraine on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, because it does not include border security funds. She is seen here arriving as Republicans hold a closed-door meeting after voting to block a bipartisan border security package that had been tied to wartime aid for Ukraine on Feb. 8, 2024. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith joined 28 fellow Republicans who voted against aid for Ukraine and Israel on Tuesday morning, saying she would not support foreign aid without additional efforts to secure the U.S. border. Just last week, she voted against a bill that would have bundled U.S. border security measures with Ukraine aid.

Mississippi’s other U.S. senator, Roger Wicker, voted for the $95 billion aid package. It passed with a vote of 70-29, including support from all Democrats and 22 Republicans. The package includes $60 billion to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian incursion, $14 billion for Israel, $9 billion for humanitarian aid and almost $5 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific partners.

“Americans deserve to know their own safety is valued & prioritized before we send billions more of taxpayer dollars to Ukraine,” Hyde-Smith tweeted this morning. “If @POTUS was half as concerned about protecting our own borders as it seems to be with guarding Ukraine’s border, we’d be much better off as a nation.”

The remarks come after she and Wicker both voted against a separate package that would have provided $60 billion in aid to Ukraine and $20 billion for border security. Democratic and Republican senators negotiated the bill after Republican leaders said last year that they would only pass Ukraine aid if it was bundled with border funding.

Last week, Hyde-Smith told SuperTalk host Paul Gallo that the bill with border security funds did not go far enough and that she feared President Joe Biden’s campaign would use it as “campaign material” if it passed. She also, without evidence, claimed that undocumented immigrants could unleash a terrorist attack in the U.S. “that could make 9/11 look like a fireworks show” during the interview.

Before Republicans turned against last week’s bill, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump warned his party to vote against it, fearing that new border security measures would diminish his plans to campaign against what he calls Biden’s “weak” border security policies. The Republican primary frontrunner called the legislation a “gift to Democrats.”

In a statement today, Wicker explained why he voted for the new foreign aid package that does not include border security measures.

“My primary obligation as a U.S. Senator is protecting America. This national defense legislation counters the Biden administration’s weak defense policy decisions and will save American lives,” the senator said. “The United States economy also stands to gain as 75 percent of the bill’s funding will support domestic manufacturing jobs, including $59 billion for weapons production. The bill ensures our military readiness and ability to confront the collective national security threats from China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, walks under a camouflage net in a trench as he visits the war-hit Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Dec. 6, 2021.
“American assistance brings just peace in Ukraine closer and restores global stability, resulting in increased security and prosperity for all Americans and all the free world,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a tweet after the U.S. Senate approved a bill with $60 billion in aid for Ukraine on Feb. 13, 2024. Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, praised the vote in a tweet Tuesday, saying that “continued US assistance helps save human lives from Russian terror.”

“American assistance brings just peace in Ukraine closer and restores global stability, resulting in increased security and prosperity for all Americans and all the free world,” he added.

The foreign aid bill still faces uncertainty in the House, where Speaker Mike Johnson has suggested his chamber will not consider the bill because it does not include border funding and will instead “work its own will on these important matters.”

Zelesnkyy has warned that, with a lapse in U.S. support, Ukraine is running low on supplies in its efforts to fight back against Russia’s war against his country.

European leaders have grown increasingly concerned about Trump’s potential return to power and his friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those fears grew stronger over the weekend when the Republican candidate said he would “encourage” Russia to attack the European allies who do not contribute enough to their own defense budgets.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the aid package totaled $95 million; it is $95 billion. We apologize for the error.

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