By Leo Wolfson, political reporter
U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis appreciated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s comments before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, to a certain extent.
“It was the perfect choice to thank American families before thanking the President, the House, and the Senate, because all the funding has come from American families,” Lummis told Cowboy State Daily after he gave his speech.
Zelensky capped his first visit out of Ukraine since the start of the war by asking Congress to approve nearly $50 billion in additional aid to his country.
It is clear Lummis will not vote to support this request.
Use IMF Funds Instead
Lummis believes funding for supporting Ukraine should come from the International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights, to which the United States is part of, “not from hardworking American families.”
Lummis said the U.S. could use its IMF Special Drawing Rights to provide important weapons and humanitarian support to Ukraine through a long-term, no interest loan.
She has consistently opposed providing financial support to Ukraine since the start of the war.
“I have promoted that source of funding until I’m blue in the face, to no avail,” Lummis said. “I continue to support America’s resolve to defend Ukrainian self-governance, but without asking hardworking taxpayers to foot the bill, especially at a time when American families’ budgets are stretched due to record high inflation.”
In 2022, the U.S. has directed nearly $50 billion in assistance to Ukraine for humanitarian, financial and military support, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
Zelensky spoke for roughly 25 minutes Wednesday. The former TV actor mixed humor with pleas for help for his country. Since last February, Ukraine has been embroiled in its war with Russia, started by President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the former Soviet state.
It’s not immediately clear if the funding request will pass. Most Democrats have indicated support, as did Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
Toward the end of the evening, Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California hoisted a Ukrainian flag signed by Ukrainian soldiers in front of the Joint Congress.
According to the New York Times, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, sat with Democrats, not Republicans, during the speech.