Durbin Calls Out Senate Republicans for Abandoning Border Deal, Delaying Aid to Ukraine at Trump's Whim

Durbin urged his colleagues to swiftly pass the stand-alone national security supplemental, which contains aid for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and Taiwan

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Co-Chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, today took to the Senate floor to deliver a speech emphasizing the necessity of delivering aid to Ukraine as it continues to fend off attacks from Vladimir Putin.  Durbin’s speech comes after nearly 20 Republican Senators supported a procedural vote to consider a national security supplemental that provides urgently-needed security and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and Taiwan. This aid package, void of provisions related to border security, is being considered after Senate Republicans quickly opposed the initial bipartisan agreement once former President Trump came out against the deal. 

“After months of delay, 17 Republican Senators joined in a bipartisan efforts to advance critical security and humanitarian aid.  I want to thank them for stepping up and urge them to continue moving this bill to final passage and moving it to passage in the House of Representatives,” said Durbin.

Durbin went on to emphasize that delays in the Senate are feeding into Putin’s tyranny, allowing him to make further advances as Ukraine waits for foreign aid.

“All the while, while we’re giving our speeches here on the floor of the Senate and other places, Vladimir Putin has been sitting back and waiting for the United States to finally walk away from the Ukrainians as they fight bravely to repel his bloody onslaught.  Putin is hoping that Donald Trump will be reelected and that this Congress will discontinue aid to Ukraine,” Durbin said. 

“Is there anyone here who could remotely have imagined that many in the party of Ronald Reagan and John McCain would be actively voting against aid to stop Russian tyranny, that they would bend to the will of former President Trump, who has spoken favorably of the Russian despot?” Durbin continued as he showed an image of President Reagan calling on the then-Soviet leader Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, as well as an image of himself and former U.S. Senator John McCain visiting Ukraine’s Maidan Square a decade ago to honor Ukrainians who were killed in their fight for freedom and democracy over the year prior.

Durbin noted that if Putin is not stopped from seizing Ukraine that he could continue to push into other Eastern European countries or invade the Baltic States.  Durbin pointed to the concerns of the Polish people while also noting their resolve in supporting Ukrainians through Russia’s attacks.

“The Polish people are staunch allies of Ukraine and the United States, and they have long memories of Soviet tyranny.  They know the critical American resolve is part of overcoming that tyranny, and we should never forget it,” Durbin said.  “It’s not just because of their love for their neighbors in Ukraine, but it’s also the realization that if Vladimir Putin conquers Ukraine, the next target could easily be Poland or the Baltic nations.  They know that this fight, which is being waged against Putin and Ukraine, is their fight.  We should realize the same.”

“Make no mistake, it’s not only Putin watching and savoring our failure to act, it’s Iran, China, North Korea, and many others.  So let’s get this done.  Let’s show Putin and the other tyrants of the world they cannot divide and weaken us, at home or with our allies abroad,” Durbin continued.

Durbin then spoke about the fallout of the bipartisan bill that included both border security measures and essential national security funding to U.S. allies, including Ukraine.  Durbin called out his Republican colleagues forabandoning the bill that took over four months to draft because former President Trump came out against the agreement.

“For months, my Republican colleagues refused to provide critical aid to Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, and Taiwan and to address urgent national security and humanitarian needs until we would consider and pass legislation to secure the American border.  This week, we had an opportunity to vote on a bipartisan bill that would help us to secure the border and provide this essential national security funding,” Durbin said.  “While I had some concerns about the proposals, as I said, I was prepared to support it with some changes, and I’m happy to report that it received the support of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents border control agents.”

“Despite all of this, Senate Republicans said they wanted to offer amendments.  Well, the way to offer an amendment is first to pass a motion to proceed to the bill.  When that measure came up for support, we didn’t have enough Republican support to pass it on the floor.  Almost immediately after the bill was released, numerous Senate Republicans came out in opposition to it.  When the bill came to the floor, they voted not even to consider it,” Durbin said.

“Why?  Because Donald Trump told them not to,” Durbin said.

Durbin explained the weight of the migrant crisis, emphasizing that Republicans refused to follow through on their promise of immigration reform when Democrats met them at the negotiating table.

“We’re facing the worst refugee crisis in modern history.  With outdated laws and underfunded agencies, our immigration system is not up to the challenge.  As a result, many migrants are stuck in our processing backlogs for years without a work permit…  We have had about 36,000 migrants come into the city of Chicago, primarily from Texas,” Durbin said. 

“The legislation that we were going to consider before the Republicans killed it would have created a new system to process migrants quickly.  It would have funded our frontline officials and immigration officers with $20 billion to ensure that they were processed efficiently.  Think about that.  The Republicans have been saying publicly for months that we need more resources at the border to stop the onslaught of people who are arriving,” Durbin continued.

Durbin concluded his remarks by calling on his colleagues to swiftly pass the national security supplemental and return to talks about immigration reform, without the interference of President Trump.

“After all the Senate Republicans’ TV appearances, campaigns photos at the border, and impassioned speeches on the floor, it only took one man to destroy this agreement, this hard-fought bipartisan agreement—Donald Trump.  I know my Republican colleagues understand the urgent need to secure the border.  I’m disappointed that they would let their fear of one man stop this body from doing its job,” Durbin said.

“We still have a chance to do the right thing when it comes to security.  We can stand behind the people in Ukraine who are fighting bravely every single day.  I cannot imagine how America can explain to the world why it would walk away from this battle against Vladimir Putin.  We know his ambitions beyond Ukraine are terrible and innocent people will suffer.  Let’s let the Ukrainian soldiers fight bravely with our support, with a vote in the Senate today,” Durbin concluded.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.