Suozzi backs House Speaker Johnson’s plan to hold vote on Ukraine aid

Suozzi backs House Speaker Johnson’s plan to hold vote on Ukraine aid
Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-NY), joined by a bipartisan group of congressional members, met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his trip last week to Eastern Europe. (Courtesy of Congressman Tom Suozzi)

Rep. Tom Suozzi (NY-03) is calling for Democrats to back Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana amid bipartisan divisions in the House of Representatives to ensure aid to Ukraine is delivered.

“Democrats must offer Speaker Johnson our votes to save democracy in Ukraine and here,” Suozzi wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “We can’t let our partisan instincts get in our way. We must work with Republicans to disarm Mr. Putin’s puppet, get a vote to support Ukraine, and defeat Russian disinformation. Our democracy is at stake.”

Suozzi, a Democrat representing New York’s Third Congressional District, has continuously advocated for working across party lines to achieve compromise and this advocacy was a cornerstone of his successful campaign to be elected to his seat in the House this February.

Days after he met with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Suozzi’s op-ed called for partisanship to be set aside so aid can be delivered to Ukraine, which is facing insufficiencies in ammunition. He said this is how Russian President Vladimir Putin can be defeated.

Suozzi advised his colleagues to listen to government officials and follow in the footsteps of the Senate to pass an aid bill for Ukraine. He said this can’t wait for Republicans to begin working with Democrats.

Since the war broke out in February 2022, the United States has sent about $74 billion in aid to Ukraine. But this has stalled in 2024.

The Senate passed a bipartisan $95 billion aid package in February that would deliver $60 billion to Ukraine as well as $14 billion to Israel, but this has not been carried out as Johnson has blocked the aid package from facing a vote on the House floor.

The bill’s aid to Ukraine has faced the strongest opposition from far-right Republicans, many of whom align with former President Donald Trump, including Speaker Johnson.

With the weekend’s missile and drone attacks launched by Iran against Israel, the House has been under increased pressure to act on the aid bill.

Johnson is expected to respond to Biden’s requests to deliver aid to Ukraine this week, along with aid for Israel and the Indo-Pacific.

Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene last week criticized the House speaker for failing to deliver on promises and said she would not tolerate his anticipated plan to push for more aid to Ukraine. Her disapproval includes threats to call for his removal as speaker via a single vote, yet she did not indicate if or when this could occur.

In the wake of Greene’s warnings to oust House Speaker Johnson, Suozzi has announced his support of the Republican speaker as long as he does his job, Suozzi said.

Suozzi said propaganda fueled by Russia and Putin is contributing to partisan fighting in Congress and among Americans that has stalled the delivery of aid to Ukraine.

Suozzi did not explain what the propaganda is but said that his social media post about his trip to Ukraine was met with responses of hostility that included fabricated photos of him wearing a Nazi armband.

He claimed that Greene’s stance on Ukraine is “parroting Russia’s propaganda,” attributing the information to “leading Republicans.”

“Mr. Putin didn’t invent American partisanship, but his lies and propaganda have fed it, giving rise to extremists like Mrs. Greene, who would rather America do nothing with democracy on the line,” Suozzi wrote.

Suozzi’s concerns about Russia fostering anti-Ukraine sentiments in America have been echoed by other government officials. He directly cited statements made by House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner, a Republican representative from Ohio, and Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas, warning of this trend.

“We see directly coming from Russia attempts to mask communications that are anti-Ukraine and pro-Russia messages—some of which we even hear being uttered on the House floor,” Turner said.

While the misinformation Suozzi writes of is stated as a threat to the future of Ukraine, the congressman expands the issue more broadly to be a greater threat to democracy.

“This fight isn’t only about Ukraine,” Suozzi wrote. “Russia seeks to tear apart the fragile fabric of international order, end American prominence in Europe, destroy the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and end the era of American-style democracy. America must stop Mr. Putin before our men and women in uniform are forced to defend NATO soil.”

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