Most US House Republicans snubbed Zelensky’s speech – media
Only 86 out of 213 Republican members of the US House of Representatives showed up to hear Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky address Congress in Washington on Wednesday, according to The Hill. The snub occurred after the House Foreign Affairs Committee narrowly rejected the proposal for an audit of military and other aid to Ukraine earlier this month.
Zelensky’s visit to the US was his first trip abroad after Russia launched a military campaign in the neighboring state in late February. He thanked the US for the support and requested more heavy weapons, including tanks and aircraft.
Some Republicans, however, have been demanding more transparency from the government when it comes to helping Ukraine. “Sadly, what I didn’t hear tonight was a clear explanation of where the first $50 billion we sent to support their efforts went,” Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, who attended Zelensky’s speech, said in a video message on Twitter. She said that she would “not support sending additional money to this war” until an audit was completed.
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spearheaded the bill to audit aid to Ukraine, was among those who ditched Zelensky’s address. “The American taxpayers are literally paying to prop up many countries all over the world in foreign aid, but America is virtually crumbling before our eyes,” Greene tweeted on Wednesday. She added that families in her district were struggling with growing food prices while the US was concerned with sending funds to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Representative Chip Roy described Zelensky’s speech as “more of the theater” used by the Democrats to convince voters that the funds slated for Ukraine were “just going to be magically created out of thin air.”
On Tuesday, Congress rolled out a spending bill containing more than $44 billion worth of aid to Ukraine. But Republicans calculated that the money set aside for Kiev exceeded $47 billion, according to the New York Times.
The Pentagon has unveiled an additional $1.85 billion aid package for Ukraine, which includes the Patriot air defense missile systems, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers, as well as artillery and tank rounds. Russia has repeatedly said that foreign weapons would not change the course of the conflict and would only cause more deaths in Ukraine.