Press Release
For Immediate Release: 
May 10, 2022
Contact Info: 
Margaret Mulkerrin 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor this evening in support of H.R. 7691, the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act. Below is a transcript of his remarks and a link to the video:
 
Click here to watch the video.

“I apologize for keeping people waiting and I intend to speak more briefly than I usually speak in my one minute, but not because of the importance of this subject, not because of the deep feelings that I have that this is the right thing to do. Mr. Speaker, this supplemental appropriation bill is a down payment on the security and success of democracy. We have paid that price before not only in dollars but in lives. Not only in Ukraine but throughout the world. Yesterday, Vladimir Putin watched as the Russian military paraded through Red Square to commemorate victory in the Second World War. Instead of honoring, however, those who defeated fascism, Putin repeated his lies about the purpose of his criminal and unprovoked war against Ukraine.

“Putin, like Hitler and Stalin before him, has denigrated the law, humanitarian principles, morals, and any kind of status in the world. We know why Putin invaded Ukraine. Not to free its people. They were free. They are free. Not to protect Russian speakers. They were protected with all the rights and security of free citizens in a nation of laws. In fact, I suggested that the U.N. send observers into eastern Ukraine to protect Russian speakers. Russia was not only under no threat from Ukraine but not from any NATO nation either. No, the plain truth is that Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine because he wanted to consolidate and expand his own power and his control over Russia. In sum, he wants to re-create the Russian Empire – a tyranny. A ruling over people by force, not by choice. After the defeat of fascism in the Second World War, the United States and our allies built a global order based on human rights and the rule of law.

“In Ukraine, Putin sought to forge a new international order with help from China. One in which might makes right, and strong men make rules. In such a view, individual freedoms must yield to the benefit of the leader and his cronies over the greatness of the state or the ruling party. Putin believed a quick victory in Ukraine would show his might and strength in his rule and deter America and our allies from standing up to future acts of Russian aggression.

“We have all been surprised and heartened, and admiring, and awed by the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people and their Leader. In their valiant fight, they have written a new chapter in the history of those in the history of their nation and the story of humankind's struggle for a free world. Our own nation. Give me liberty, or give me death. The first stage of the war in Ukraine was a victory for freedom and the Ukrainian people. With the help of Western arms and aid, Ukraine defeated Putin’s attempt to win a quick and decisive victory and to occupy and control the capital of Ukraine. Indeed, they have given the Russian military a substantial bruising. But this war, as we know is far from over. In the east, Russian forces continue their fierce assaults, their criminal assaults, their murderous assaults, their savage assaults.

“There's not an adverse adjective you can use that does not apply to the actions of Russia and its soldiers and its leaders. Their seizure of towns and villages and their war crimes against civilians is meant to demoralize the Ukrainian people into submission. How awed we must be and proud of their determination not to be bludgeoned into submission. The world now knows that Ukrainians will fight to their last breath for their country. We pledge our lives and our honor, our sacred honor, and all that we have. That's what our Founders said. Fighting a behemoth power, the world power of its day. Because of the courage of our Founders and those Minutemen and those Minutewomen we prevailed. I say this is a down payment – this bill. The world now knows that Ukrainians will fight to their last breath for their country just as the fighters, and that's not just we have to say it, we have seen it in Mariupol. This is a down payment, this bill. For the success and security of democracy. Not just of Ukrainian democracy or Ukrainian freedom but for the freedom of the global community.

“As I have said in recent weeks, America and our allies must ensure Putin suffers a strategic loss from this invasion. If he does not, every two-bit dictator in the world will take the lesson that we can do the same. President Biden understands this which is why he requested this funding to provide Ukraine with the type of arms it needs to shift from defensive to offensive operations. The Battle of Kyiv has at least for now been won. But this war will turn on the battle of the Donbas and the battle of the Black Sea coast. I urge every one of my colleagues, do not be dissuaded tonight by politics. Do not be diverted from our support of democracy which 435 of us support, or freedom, or liberty, about which all of us talk all the time. Talk is cheap, this victory for democracy is not. It has never been, and it is not today, or tomorrow, and the day thereafter. Let us not let Putin achieve a victory over democracy and liberty and freedom. Vote yes for Ukraine, for the American people and our democracy, and for those who love liberty throughout this globe. Let us send a united message, yes, we have political differences, yes we can sometimes be demeaning of one another. But when it comes to the defense of liberty and freedom, we shall be united. Vote yes. I yield back.”