WASHINGTON, D.C. – Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke says she voted in support of omnibus legislation to fund the US Government and provide US$13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine.
In clearing the first major US federal spending legislation of President Joe Biden’s administration, the US Congress on Thursday approved a US$1.5 trillion package, with significant increases for domestic and national security programs, including US$13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine in its valiant fight against Russia’s invasion.
President Biden is expected to quickly sign the bill into law.
“We are living through challenging, very treacherous times,” Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) on Thursday, in her first major public view on the Ukraine war. “In the past couple of weeks, we have witnessed a violent and murderous assault on the people of Ukraine, ever since the Russian military invaded their country on the orders of the callous authoritarian, Vladimir Putin. The world has once again witnessed the devastating loss of life and human suffering that never fails to follow armed aggression.
“As the Congressional representative of the people of the 9th District of New York, home to many Ukrainian-Americans, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones and who have been impacted by the terror that has been unleashed upon the people of Ukraine. My prayers are with the proud, resilient and transcendently brave people of Ukraine, as they contend with the unimaginable and relentless tragedies taking place within the borders of their homeland.”
Clarke, whose Brooklyn, New York district is overwhelmingly Caribbean, said the Ukrainian people’s strength and resolve in the face of the unprovoked attack serve as a shining example for the world to follow in pursuit of freedom and as a warning to Putin, that those sworn to defend democracy “will not meekly surrender their precious freedoms but will resist and fight until the end”.
The congresswoman said that the threat of escalating global tensions with Russia is “very real and very grave”.
Although warning that the US must not inadvertently find itself in direct armed conflict with Putin, Clarke said America “must always remain engaged in the ceaseless struggle for freedom and democracy whenever these sacred ideals are attacked, at home and abroad”.
“Our choice today is not a choice between inaction and all-out war. I believe that there are meaningful measures the United States can and should take to support the Ukrainian people without providing Russia cause to plunge the world into another world war,” she said.
Clarke said she voted in support of crucial omnibus legislation that included increases in defense spending and critical aid for Ukraine for that very reason.
“We must boldly lead, both globally and domestically, in this moment. Our future depends on it,” the congresswoman said.
“Though we remain hopeful for an expedited, peaceful resolution to this crisis, please know that the burden felt by our families and communities today will not be in vain, as we pursue a more democratic, more humane future globally. It is a difficult cause, but one we must take up all the same – for the world, for the United States of America and for our future.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the US Senate Majority Leader, described the measure as “the strongest, boldest and most significant government funding package we’ve seen in a very long time”.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday the legislation will reduce costs for families and businesses, support economic recovery and “advance American leadership abroad”.
“With these resources, we will be able to deliver historic support for the Ukrainian people, as they defend their country and democracy,” Psaki said.