Kansas delegation split on votes to send $95B in aid to Ukraine, Israel and other allies

photo by: AP File Photos

U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran, left, and Roger Marshall, right.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas said it would have been naive to vote against the $95 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other allies that was forwarded to President Joe Biden after months of congressional debate.

In comments ahead of the Senate’s 79-18 vote for the spending plan Tuesday, Moran said it would have demonstrated a lack of wisdom had Congress passed a stand-alone aid bill for Israel and turned its back on other national security threats.

“Iran launched a full-scale attack on Israel; Hamas has stated its intent to wipe Israel off the map; Russia continues its brutal aggression in Ukraine; and China is rapidly modernizing its military and using companies to spy and track Americans,” Moran said. “Each of these conflicts are interconnected, and it would be naive to send aid to Israel but take a pass on supporting Ukraine, Taiwan or our other allies.”

His Republican colleague from Kansas, U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, was among 18 senators — 15 Republicans, two Democrats and one independent — to vote against the foreign aid legislation.

Marshall, elected to the House in 2016 and the Senate in 2020, said he opposed the bill, in part, because he thought the most important national security issue for the United States was improving security on the border with Mexico. He asserted that the United States sent more than $100 billion to Ukraine with “no oversight or accountability” in the two years since Russia launched its latest invasion of Ukraine.

“We cannot continue selling our grandchildren down a river and sending another $60 billion we do not have to Ukraine,” Marshall said. “No more blank checks. Enough is enough. For me, it will always be America first. Our safety, health and security above all else.”

In terms of the Kansas delegation in the House, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat, and GOP U.S. Reps. Ron Estes and Jake LaTurner voted for the measure. U.S. Rep. Tracey Mann, a Republican, voted against it.

photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World

Congressman Tracey Mann, R-Salina, speaks to a member of the audience before the start of a listening session on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, at the Lawrence Public Library.

Moran, who has served in Congress for more than a quarter of a century, said allies and adversaries of the United States were watching as the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate considered the $60 billion in aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia, $17 billion in offensive and defensive assistance for Israel, $9 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza, and $8 billion for Taiwan and other nations threatened by China. Biden said he would sign the bill.

“There is no path forward for Ukraine, there is no path forward for Israel or for Taiwan if the United States of America disengages in the world,” Moran said.

He said it was important to understand that $42 billion of $60 billion earmarked for Ukraine would be used to replenish U.S. military stockpiles and purchase U.S.-made weapons, including hardware from plants in Kansas and the Kansas City metropolitan area.

“I share my colleagues’ frustrations that we were unsuccessful in including border policies in this package,” Moran said. “We can’t wait for a new administration or new Congress to try and pass perfect border legislation, if such a thing exists.”

A bipartisan border security bill was derailed in February by Republicans in Congress at the request of former President Donald Trump, who is running against Biden and sought to make inaction of border security a campaign issue in the November election.

The foreign aid legislation sent to Biden included new sanctions against Russian and Iranian officials, a mandate that Ukraine consider $10 billion in economic assistance a loan, and a requirement that TikTok disconnect itself from a Chinese-owned parent company or contend with a U.S. ban.

— Tim Carpenter is a reporter with the Kansas Reflector, a Topeka-based news agency covering the Kansas Statehouse.


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