U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley cast the lone Democratic vote Saturday against a measure temporarily funding the federal government because it doesn’t provide money to aid Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Quigley, a Chicagoan whose mostly suburban 5th District includes a large Ukrainian population, called the continuing resolution a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin “and Putin sympathizers everywhere.”
“I had a responsibility to my constituents to voice my opposition to this decision and raise concerns now, before Russia-friendly Republicans dig in their heels or claim victory in the next funding agreement,” Quigley said in a news release. “We now have 45 days to correct this grave mistake.”
The plan keeps the government funded for 45 days, until Nov. 17,
The proposal was moved forward by the Republican-led U.S. House and signed by President Joe Biden late Saturday. It drops aid to Ukraine, a White House priority opposed by a growing number of GOP lawmakers.
Quigley — a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus — has been a strident supporter of Ukraine since the European nation was invaded by Russia in early 2022. In the statement he released after Saturday’s vote, Quigley insists protecting Ukraine is in the U.S.’s national interest.
“The fight in Ukraine is our fight, and anyone who tries to argue that a choice must be made between Ukraine and the American people is presenting a false dilemma,” said Quigley, whose district stretches from Chicago’s North Side to the Barrington area, crossing through parts of Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Arlington Heights and other towns.
All the other members of the suburban House delegation voted for the spending plan.
U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, a Downers Grove Democrat serving the 6th District, said 167,903 Illinois women and children would have lost access to nutrition assistance benefits if the government shut down.
“Over 28,000 troops in our state would have been forced to serve without pay,” Casten said in a news release. “Travelers would have seen delays at airports and food safety inspections would have stopped.”
As for Ukraine, Casten said he’s committed to fighting for additional funding.
“(I) urge my colleagues across the aisle to join us in this work,” Casten said.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Highland Park Democrat serving the 10th District, called for Republicans and Democrats to “negotiate in good faith” and work together on a longer-term budget solution. His news release on the matter didn’t mention Ukraine.
The lack of aid for Ukraine wasn’t an oversight. The Senate’s version of the bill included $6 billion for Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the U.S. Capitol and the White House late last month in an effort to build support for his nation.
Biden has requested Congress approve an additional $24 billion for Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs, and he has bipartisan support on the issue; Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell both have supported Ukraine funding.
But a hard-right flank of Republicans, led by former President Donald Trump, is increasingly opposed to sending more money overseas. The three Illinois Republicans in the House — Mike Bost of Murphysboro, Mary Miller of Oakland and Darin LaHood of the Peoria area — all voted no.
“I will not be part of the process to kick government funding down the road until the holidays, when Senate and House ‘insiders’ will agree to ram through some massive omnibus with Ukraine funding behind closed doors,” Miller said on social media.
• Daily Herald wire services contributed to this report.