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House passes resolution backing Ukraine, but it wasn’t unanimous

Congressional leaders hoped to see the House speak with one voice in opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine. They had to settle for 99 percent unanimity.


In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it didn’t come as a surprise that the Democratic-led U.S. House voted this week on a resolution in support of Ukrainians, while condemning the unnecessary and deadly war. As The Hill reported, it passed easily, but not unanimously.

The House passed a resolution on Wednesday to declare support for Ukraine’s sovereignty in the face of the invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, while urging an “immediate cease-fire.” Lawmakers in both parties voted near-unanimously in favor of the resolution, 426-3.... Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said it was “unreal” that three fellow Republicans voted against the resolution.

As the roll call showed, the measure, as expected, received overwhelming bipartisan support, but three GOP lawmakers, who knew it would pass anyway, voted against it: Arizona’s Paul Gosar, Kentucky’s Thomas Massie, and Montana’s Matt Rosendale.

Congressional leaders who hoped to see the chamber speak with one voice in support of our allies and against Vladimir Putin’s aggression came close, but they had to settle for 99 percent unanimity.

This, naturally, led to an obvious question: What in the world were these far-right members thinking?

As the lopsided outcome suggested, the text of the resolution wasn’t especially controversial, at least not from an American perspective. The measure condemned the invasion, endorsed a ceasefire, expressed support for sanctions, and said the House “stands steadfastly, staunchly, proudly and fervently behind the Ukrainian people in their fight against the authoritarian Putin regime.”

It was a non-binding, symbolic gesture, with no force of law. It didn’t require the United State to actually do anything. So what was the problem?

For his part, Rosendale said he opposes sending “unlimited military, monetary, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine.” Massie made a similar complaint via a Twitter thread.

And then there was Gosar. The Arizona Republic reported:

When Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., noted his dismay with Wednesday’s few “no” votes, Gosar, R-Ariz., tweeted, “Talk to me when our border is secure.” Later, Gosar issued a statement faulting the resolution for referencing NATO’s longstanding collective defense provision that treats an attack on one member nation as one against all of them.

“While I have deep compassion and sympathy for the horrible suffering of the people of Ukraine and am moved by their nationalism, this resolution would have been more aptly titled the ‘Resolution that Drags the United States into Another Foreign War,’” Gosar said.

Just so we’re clear, the resolution that passed with 426 votes did not authorize or endorse U.S. military action of any kind.

Gosar’s vote against the measure came less than a week after he appeared at a white nationalist event where Russia was praised and attendees literally chanted Vladimir Putin’s name.