Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) joined Vivek Ramaswamy and Elon Musk in an X Space on Monday for more than one hour to slam efforts to rush through tens of millions of dollars in additional funding for Ukraine’s stalemate war against Russia.
The discussion occurred before a crucial expected Monday night procedural vote on the foreign aid package. Sixty senators are needed for that vote on cloture to end debate on the bill, clearing the way for a likely Wednesday vote on final passage.
The trio of senators urged listeners to contact their House members to demand opposition to the package, which has suffered from increased unpopularity as its details are exposed.
“The assumption, as of a day ago, was the thing would certainly pass,” said Vance:
I still think that it’s likely to pass, but I think what we’ve done is two things today. We’ve sort of commandeered the floor of the Senate using various procedural mechanisms to try to delay the thing as much as possible. I think it’s given time for the news media and others to sort of surface some of the important problems with the legislation. And also, I think, sort of gin up our House colleagues to prepare to stop this thing.
“It funds Ukraine to the tune of another $61 billion,” Vance explained, saying the bills fail to “meaningfully address the problems that we have within our own defense industrial base.”
“It does not actually articulate or force the articulation of a strategy for how to end the conflict to begin with. So you basically have a blank check — or a near blank check — for a strategy that’s completely gone off the rails.”
Sen. J.D. Vance (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Lee called out his Republican colleagues for sending aid to Ukraine at the expense of America’s own interests.
“By voting yes and passing this bill now, it empowers drug cartels, it dissolves our borders, it spends insane amounts of money that we don’t have on the priorities of foreign countries all at the same time,” he said.
Lee also slammed the bills’ proponents for defeating an effort led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to increase accountability and oversight of the aid to the notoriously corrupt Ukrainian government through appointment of an inspector general.
“These are not choir boys,” Lee said. “These are not Boy Scouts. These are not Girl Scouts. These are people who have really set world records for corruption. It’s an art form over there.”
Sen. Mike Lee (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Vance laid out the arguments from Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for rushing the aid through without further accountability measures.
“The basic argument is that we have to rush resources to Ukraine immediately, or they’re liable to fall to Russian aggression,” he said. “And it’s all basically an argument made under the gun that unless you approve this appropriation of resources and weapons, then you will allow Russia to win. So it’s a kind of moral blackmail.”
Supporters of yet more aid to Ukraine can not admit the reality that the war is not winnable for Ukraine, Vance continued. “They can’t admit that this isn’t going well because if they admitted that, it would cause too much psychological harm, and they’d have to cut bait.”
Johnson added that proponents argue that it is in politicians’ naked political interests to support the aid because “it’s helping build our industrial base, and so it’s creating jobs in your state. And I call that a depraved justification.”
Sen. Ron Johnson (Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Musk, who noted his contributions to Ukraine’s war efforts, echoed the assessment of the trio of senators that the war is ultimately not winnable and that a peace deal is in their best interests.
Ukraine is “losing people every day,” he said. “And if you’re going to spend lives, it must be for a purpose.”
There is no way in hell that Putin is going to lose. If he would back off, he would be assassinated. And for those who want regime change in Russia, they should think about: Who is the person that could take out Putin? And is that person likely to be a peacenik? Probably not. They’re probably gonna be even harder, even more hardcore than Putin if they took him out.
Elon Musk (Alain JOCARD/AFP)
Ramaswamy detailed additional “unacceptable” risks to American and global interests from continued “endless funding” of the fighting in Ukraine, arguing that Americans see “daily strengthening of the military alliance between Russia and China, which, when combined, is the single greatest increase for the risk of World War III that we’ve seen in the post-World War II era.”
Vivek Ramaswamy (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
If the foreign aid passes the Senate, as is expected, the House must still act. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) would likely face a rebellion from members of the Republican conference if he brought the bill to the floor.
Monday night, after the conclusion of the X Space, Johnson seemed to throw cold water on the Senate’s package, echoing earlier statements that Congress must address American border security first.
“In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” a Johnson statement read. “America deserves better than the Senate’s status quo.”
The timing before Monday night’s vote is important, sending the message to any on-the-fence Republican senators that a vote on the unpopular aid package would imperil their political standing for legislation that will not become law.
Some Democrats have insisted they will use all the parliamentary tools at their disposal to bring the bill to the floor, although a path forward for the legislation in the House is unclear.
Bradley Jaye is a Capitol Hill Correspondent for Breitbart News. Follow him on X/Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.