The votes taken in the House and Senate on Thursday put every lawmaker on the record as to where they stand regarding U.S. assistance to Ukraine — and fewer than two dozen members in either body voted against the aid or signaled objections with aspects of the agreement.
Senators voted unanimously to approve the aid package, but shortly before, they voted to amend the measure by removing provisions related to how the U.S. funds the International Monetary Fund. Republicans had insisted on dropping the IMF-related language before voting to approve the deal. The vote on the amendment was 98 to 2, with Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voting against.
Heller and Paul have both raised concerns that IMF-backed aid to Ukraine will inevitably end up being used to pay off Russian debts and thus help the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Heller said in a statement after the vote, "Any instance in which American tax dollars are being sent abroad requires great consideration and a high burden of proof that these dollars are going to achieve the intended goal." He said he is "not convinced" that the U.S. aid "will not ultimately be used to pay back Russian debts" and that lawmakers "should explore other available options."
Paul said in a statement that he supported the provisions providing technical and security assistance to Ukraine and sanctions against Russia. "However, I cannot support the bill because it will have the perverse impact of using American tax dollars to reward Russia," he said.
As for the House, here's how things went down:
Final tally: 399 to 19.
How many Republicans voted for the bill?: 210.
How many Democrats voted for the bill?: 189.
How many Republicans voted against the bill?: 17.
How many Democrats voted against the bill?: 2.
How many members didn't vote?: 13. (Five Republicans and eight Democrats.)
Votes Notes: Republican "no" votes came from Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.), Kerry Bentivolio (Mich.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Michael Burgess (Tex.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), John Duncan (Tenn.), Chris Gibson (N.Y.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Raul Labrador (Utah), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Mick Mulvaney (S.C.), Bill Posey (Fla.), Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.), Todd Rokita (Ind.), Steve Stockman (Tex.), Ted Yoho (Fla.) and Don Young (Alaska).
The two Democratic "no" votes came from Reps. Alan Grayson (Fla.) and Beto O'Rourke (Tex.).
Those in opposition comprise a mix of isolationists, fiscal conservatives and liberals opposed to foreign interventions. Rohrabacher has said that the United States shouldn't take sides in the Russia-Ukraine dispute, while Massie and Jones previously voted against a resolution condemning Russia for its actions against Ukraine. Grayson this week said that the United States "should be pleased" about Russia's annexation of Crimea and described it as "a virtually bloodless transfer of power." A spokesman for O'Rourke said the lawmaker was traveling and unavailable for comment.