WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley issued the following statement after voting to begin debate on a national security supplemental funding bill:
“Ukrainians are fighting and dying on the front lines to defend democracy. They need us now more than ever in the battle against Putin’s tyranny. This is a Munich Moment, akin to when Chamberlain told Hitler that he could have a slice of Czechoslovakia and there would be peace in our time. We can’t repeat this historic mistake.
“Supporting Ukraine is essential not only to Ukraine itself, but to all democracies. Dictators around the world, including Xi Jinping of China, are watching. Failure to support Ukraine will encourage other dictators to attack adjacent democracies.
“The package that included border security and Ukraine together failed, but we came right back to another package that has border security stripped out. Again, I repeat: We cannot let this be a moment of appeasement to Putin. We have to fund Ukraine and stand with our European partners and the people fighting against Russian aggression.
“This bill also provides billions of dollars of unrestricted aid to Israel. Hamas conducted a horrific terrorist assault on Israel on October 7 and Israel has every right to go after Hamas. But the way in which Israel conducts the war against Hamas matters. And the Netanyahu government has chosen an approach that has had a devastating impact on civilians. More than 27,000 are dead, of which more than 18,000 are women and children. Two to three times that many have been seriously injured, and civilians in Gaza are suffering from an intense shortage of food, water, and medicine.
“In addition, the Netanyahu government has rejected U.S. requests to shift to a war strategy more directly targeted at Hamas and has also rejected U.S. requests to facilitate a massive increase in humanitarian aid. I support aid to Israel that goes to Israel’s defense-oriented programs, including Iron Dome and David’s Sling, but I do not support the provision of offensive weapons that have been used in Gaza with calamitous effects on civilians.”