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WATCH: Houlahan Delivers Passionate Speech Advocating for Ukraine Aid

Explains why it’s good for U.S. businesses and the American way of life

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) delivered a speech admonishing Speaker Johnson for his failure to bring forward a vote on Ukraine aid. Houlahan has been passionately advocating for a vote on Ukraine aid for weeks, including during press conferences alongside Leader Hakeem Jeffries and fellow veterans serving in Congress. She also had the opportunity to speak about this with Speaker Johnson on the House Floor yesterday.


WATCH her full remarks from today’s speech here and read the transcript below:


Thank you, Madam Speaker.


I’m really proud to say that, in large part thanks to the leadership of President Joe Biden, that when the U.S. has been called upon to help our allies... we have answered that call.


When I was standing with President Zelensky years ago, we warned him of the pending attack that was coming his way. We shared intelligence with him—frankly intelligence that he didn’t believe—we shared that intelligence with the world as well, and we clearly demonstrated the clear and present threat that was coming his way.


When Ukraine then called us for help in the immediate aftermath of the Russian’s attack—illegal attack—on Ukraine, we the United States answered.


When the Ukrainian people held off Putin’s advance and called again for additional resources to sustain their defenses, we the United States, again answered.


When Ukraine’s military offensively took back the Black Sea and asked again for more advanced weaponry for their battled tested troops, we the United States answered.


Yet now, when the Russian military is retreating in some regions and on the brink of doing so in many more areas as well, we are not answering Ukraine's repeated attempts and calls for help again.


When Ukraine is now literally running out of bullets, we are not answering their call for help.


Which is why my pride in our leadership and in the United States has become overcome with anger because yet again this chamber is about to recess without having provided aid to Ukraine.


Yesterday in the House Armed Services Committee, I heard one of my Republican colleagues say not once, not twice, but three times that Putin is indeed a war criminal, and I'm quoting him here: 


“As we see the attacks from war criminal Putin on the democracy of Ukraine, we are so concerned by the efforts of war criminal Putin and their allies of Iran and China.” This question was: “What is your assessment of China and Iran helping war criminal Putin.”


Madam Speaker, I agree with that member! Putin is a war criminal. Which is exactly why we must be providing aid to Ukraine.


The inaction of Congress, and specifically this House, this body and specifically the Speaker of the House, Mr. Johnson, to support Ukraine is putting the United States and the world in peril.


My dad was born in Lviv, which was then Poland and now Ukraine. He was born in 1942. His father, my grandfather, was murdered during the Holocaust along with nearly every member of his immediate family. We know what happens when the United States does not lead but rather turns a blind eye and turns inward.


My family tree is bare and hollowed out and is a stark reminder of what happens when we allow tyrants to invade other nations and to wage merciless and illegal wars. My family is not alone. Millions of lives were lost because of the United States’ reticence to engage in 1939.


I’d also like to remind my colleagues that this is not a handout. First, many of these munitions are developed by Americans, supporting U.S. businesses and second, we are giving Ukraine our aging weaponry and purchasing new, more advanced technologies for our troops. And finally, we are supporting Ukraine and supporting our American way of life without a single loss of Americans.


Not a single American service member has been deployed to Ukraine. But there are American service members in nearby NATO countries who will be in harm’s way should Putin continue his illegal and expressed desire to put NATO on the war path. 


Americans should not need a history lesson about what happens to our way of life when Europe falls to the chaos of war, but clearly some of my colleagues do.


So, what on earth are we doing here? We are called to DC for vote after vote on bill after bill that stand no chance of passing in the Senate, when we should be using this valuable time doing our job and passing Ukraine aid.


If Ukraine aid were brought up today for a vote – it would pass. It would pass the House, supported by scores and scores of Republicans and Democrats alike, like the ones who have called Putin a war criminal. It actually also has already passed the Senate. And President Biden would sign it into law tomorrow.


I love this country. I’ve served this country in uniform. It is the greatest honor of my lifetime to serve my country and community in Congress.


And it is because of this love – the same country that took in my father and grandmother as Holocaust refugees – that I stand here today and express my deep and profound anger at the positively undemocratic way in which Speaker Johnson is withholding our vote on Ukraine.


The déjà vu of giving these remarks is literally nauseating. I am apoplectic. This is 1939 again and this is not an exaggeration. This is not about our standing as a nation, it is about a lasting peace in a democratic world order.


In 24 hours, this House will adjourn yet again and if Democrats held the gavel, there would be no further delay. I’ll say that again, if Democrats held the gavel, Ukraine would have the support they needed.


I do not want to be right. I really don't want Ukraine to fall. I just want to be able to vote on Ukraine and defeat Putin. 


With that I yield back and demand a vote.


Additional Background


Houlahan met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in January of 2022, just three weeks before Putin’s invasion began. As a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Armed Services Committee, Houlahan received regular briefings on developing threats to the U.S. and various regions of the world.


Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator, and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the recipient of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award which “recognizes members who demonstrate the bipartisan leadership and constructive governing necessary to move our country forward” and the Congressional Management Foundation’s 2022 Democracy Award for best Constituent Services in Congress.