The Democratic Party’s far-left wing urged President Biden to secure a peace agreement in Ukraine on Monday, throwing the party into disarray regarding the conflict.
Thirty progressive members of the House of Representatives, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, R-NY, sent a letter to Biden on the issue Monday. The group called on the White House to pursue “direct engagement” with Russia to secure a peace deal, flaunting the current policy of the Biden White House.
“We agree with the Administration’s perspective that it is not America’s place to pressure Ukraine’s government regarding sovereign decisions, and with the principle you have enunciated that there should be ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,’” the group wrote.
“But as legislators responsible for the expenditure of tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in military assistance in the conflict, we believe such involvement in this war also creates a responsibility for the United States to seriously explore all possible avenues, including direct engagement with Russia, to reduce harm and support Ukraine in achieving a peaceful settlement,” they added.
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Jayapal’s letter faced speedy condemnation from fellow Democrats,
“This letter is an olive branch to a war criminal who’s losing his war,” Rep. Jake Auchincloss, D-Mass., wrote on Twitter.
One signee of the letter, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., expressed confusion as to why it had been published.
“This was written in July & I have no idea why it went out now. Bad timing,” he wrote on Twitter. “Second, it was trying to get to a cease-fire & diplomacy as others were banging war drums, not criticizing Biden. Third, I’ve supported the efforts & will continue. Over-analyzed by some.”
Democrats have repeatedly pushed tens of billions in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine through Congress since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the country in February.
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While the initial funding boosts were bipartisan, the griping letter from progressives echoes a growing sentiment among Republicans that the spending needs to be controlled.
The U.S. has invested roughly $54 billion into supporting Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stated that Ukraine would no longer be getting a “blank check” if Republicans secure Congress in November.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News last week. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
Nevertheless, Republicans have clarified that they are not opposed to offering further aid to Ukraine.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, argued Monday that the problem for many GOP lawmakers was not aiding Ukraine in its hour of need but rather the expensive way Democrats have done so in recent months.
“No one in Republican leadership has called for an end to aid for Ukraine,” said Turner. “People on the Republican side are saying, ‘Why do we have to pass a $40 billion package to send $8 billion to Ukraine?’”
Fox News’ Haris Alic contributed to this report.