Senator Lee rips $238 million provision for deployment of US troops to Europe with proposed Ukraine aid, filibusters bill

Feb 10, 2024 | Political News

Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) on the floor of the Senate on Friday and on Saturday blasted the proposed $95 billion foreign aid package with the lion's share going to Ukraine aid. One provision in particular he highlighted in the package, among many, included spending $238 million for deployment of US troops to Europe. He filibustered the bill on Saturday for several hours. 

During Friday's session Lee took to the floor to point out various issues he took with HR 815, which is titled the “Removing Extraneous Loopholes Insuring Every Veteran Emergency Act or the RELIEVE Act.” The text of the bill is on congress.gov with 211 amendments as of Saturday. It is set to fund over $95 billion to aid for Ukraine, Israel, and in the Indo-Pacific.  

“It provides some $238 million, roughly a quarter of a billion dollars to cover deployments of US troops to Europe,” Lee stated. “Does that mean we are getting ready to be more directly… involved in this war?” 

He went on further breaking down the funding that will be getting sent to Ukraine and what the money will be used for.  

The proposed aid to Ukraine, Lee stated, will also include the costs of “government employees” for a whole year. It would subsidize “clothing stores” as well as those who are selling “concert tickets.” It would also give massive funding to the Ukraine border while not helping with border security for the United States. 

On Saturday, after breaking down the costs of the bill the day before, Lee filibustered HR 815 for several hours in hopes of slowing its passage through Congress.  

At several points Lee introduced amendments to the bill. One of which would have changed the text as to not provide “reconstruction for Ukraine.” Senator Catherine Masto (D-NV) objected to the measure and said her objection stemmed from “right-wing extremists” who had not passed the previous version that would provide funds to process more illegal immigrants at the border.  

Lee slammed the idea that an argument as simple as a “slur” in opposition to his amendment would make sense to stop him under Senate rules. 

Later, after his filibuster, he posted a short explainer on X.

“During the course of my speech I explained why it really is important… that we should use the opportunity to try to secure the border if a Ukraine package was going to move through.” 

He explained that there was supposed to be “an open amendment process,” however when he attempted to submit other amendments to the bill, he was blocked by other members' actions.