Nearly 50 Democrats issued a rebuke of President Biden’s plan to send cluster munitions to Ukraine by voting for an amendment by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to ban the practice.
The amendment, which was supported by 49 Democrats and 98 Republicans, ultimately failed to make its way into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), but proved opposition – and support – for the indiscriminate bombs transcends party lines.
The Democrats included Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, N.Y., Maxwell Frost, Fla., Cori Bush, Mo., Greg Casar, Texas, Pramila Jayapal, Wash., and Jamaal Bowman, N.Y.
Biden has said it was a ‘difficult’ decision to offer the bombs to Ukraine in its fight against Russia but said it was ‘necessary’ for them to win the war.
Ukraine received the first shipment of cluster bombs on Thursday and promised only to use them to dislodge enemy soldiers. The bombs were part of an $800 million security package from the U.S.
U.S. law bans the transfer of cluster munitions that have more than a one percent ‘dud’ rate – or fail to go off more than one percent of the time. Such bombs that don’t go off immediately can create land mines and explode later on civilian contact.
But national security advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed President Biden had signed a waiver allowing a transfer of such weapons with a higher dud rate – but said the rate would be ‘not higher than 2.5 percent.’
Cluster munitions explode and disperse a series of smaller bombs over a wide area, often killing civilians. More than 120 nations have signed a 15-year-old treaty banning their use, but Ukraine and Russia have both deployed them – and Ukraine’s supplies of all types of ammunition are dwindling.
The House passed the defense spending bill bill 219 to 210 to set up a showdown in the Senate over the amendments which included banning considering military recruitment from considering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
The NDAA sets policy for the Defense Department for the year, and is usually routine and widely supported by both parties.
Republicans included several amendments on social issues as part of their bid to get rid of ‘woke’ policies in the military.
Four Democrats voted in favor of the bill – Reps. Don Davis, N.C., Jared Golden, Maine, Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, Wash., and Rep Gabriel Vazquez, N.M. Four Republicans – Ken Buck, Andy Biggs, Eli Crane, and Thomas Massive – voted against.
Read the full story here.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.