A growing number of GOP lawmakers have begun to openly oppose continuing demands for more funding for Ukraine nearly two years after its war with Russia began.
The inclusion of such funding was a major factor in the recent defeat of a bipartisan deal supposedly aimed at securing the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), who was among those Senate Republicans who voted against the legislation, has since taken on a separate bill being advanced that would devote a majority of its $95 billion foreign aid spending to Ukraine.
He took to the Senate floor last week as part of a filibuster during which he outlined his many misgivings about the amount of money included in the bill as well as where those funds would go if the foreign aid package was passed.
One of his most pronounced concerns with the Removing Extraneous Loopholes Insuring Every Veteran Emergency — or RELIEVE — Act, was its inclusion of roughly $238 million to cover the cost of deploying U.S. service members to Europe.
“It provides some $238 million, roughly a quarter of a billion dollars, to cover deployments of U.S. troops to Europe,” he said. “Does that mean we are getting ready to be more directly … involved in this war?”
Lee also pointed to provisions in the bill that would subsidize various living expenses for employees of the Ukrainian government as well as secure Ukraine’s border without addressing America’s own porous southern border.
Throughout the course of his hours-long filibuster, the Utah Republican offered his support for a range of amendments to the bill, including one that would make it clear that “reconstruction for Ukraine” would not be part of the funding therein.
Other prominent Republicans joined Lee in his opposition to the bill, including 2024 GOP presidential primary front-runner Donald Trump.
In an all-caps social media post on Saturday, the former president wrote: “We should never give money anymore without the hope of a payback, or without ‘strings’ attached. The United States of America should be ‘stupid’ no longer!”
The same day, Trump touted the defeat of the earlier immigration bill, describing the development as “another massive victory that every conservative should celebrate.”