NASHVILLE - U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Northwest Georgia was among 10 Republicans this past week who voted against a House bill calling on the Biden administration to speed up supplies of military equipment to Ukraine as the nation continues to defend itself against Russia's invasion.
Proponents of the measure spoke out on the House floor against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion.
Greene used her time to speak about the U.S.'s southern border with Mexico. She supports legislation that would require the U.S. to maintain COVID-19 immigration restrictions. The Pause Act would block administration efforts to rescind or reduce the restrictions.
"When I went to the border just a few days ago it became very clear to me," Greene said, "what is happening at our southern border, it is a crisis of epic proportions. And it's difficult to comprehend it until you actually see it in person.
"This is a complete human and drug traffic operation that is doing nothing for Americans but hurting our country. And it's enriching the cartels, they have grown their network and expanded it into our country," Greene said.
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, called her out on the floor of the House.
"The United States of America just witnessed the most astonishing spectacle," he said. "We're here to debate aid to the people of Ukraine, defending themselves against a massive invasion by Vladimir Putin and his army.
"Then, the minority puts up the distinguished gentlelady from Georgia who does not mention Ukraine once. She does not mention the thousands of Ukrainian civilians who've been slaughtered by Putin's army. Instead, she talks about a massive invasion at the border, a massive invasion which their own speakers have said today hundreds of thousands of people have been apprehended in.
"That's very different from a military invasion, the one in Ukraine," Raskin continued. "Of course the gentlelady is not going to talk about that."
Raskin said Greene now had the opportunity "to tell the world" what her views about Russia are.
"I put them out there, exactly what she's said. She said that the aid the taxpayers of America are sending to the people of Ukraine to defend themselves against Vladimir Putin and the Russian army falls into the hands of Nazis. I want to see her proof. Where's her evidence? She talks about NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Nazis.
"Does the minority believe that our allies in NATO who are trying to defend the people of Ukraine are Nazis? Has it come to this? The gentlelady talked about a massive invasion, we had a massive invasion of our own chamber. And she continued to be a cheerleader for the insurrection and continued to deny what happened here."
That was a reference to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who were seeking to overturn the results of Biden's victory in the November 2020 election.
Greene's candidacy for re-election is being challenged in Georgia based on whatever role she played in supporting the attack, based on a Civil War-era Constitutional provision banning insurrectionists from holding office.
Raskin's remark drew objections from Republicans over remarks of a personal nature, drawing the House parliamentarian's ruling that Raskin used "unparliamentary language." Raskin accepted that.
The Ukraine aid legislation, which passed the House with 417 yes votes, had been approved earlier by senators on a voice vote. It now heads to President Joe Biden.
Ten Republicans voted against the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act in the House: - Andy Biggs of Arizona. - Dan Bishop of North Carolina. - Warren Davidson of Ohio. - Matt Gaetz of Florida. - Paul Gosar of Arizona. - Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. - Thomas Massie of Kentucky. - Ralph Norman of South Carolina. - Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. - Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin. Source: Clerk of the House
Greene posted on Twitter last month that it was "Nazi militias" in Ukraine that were engaging in torture and that a U.S. aid package would further that.
"We should not spend billions of Americans' hard-earned tax dollars on lethal aid to be given to possible Nazi militias that are torturing innocent people, especially children and women. It's not pro-Putin to be against this. It's pro-torture and evil to stay silent/censor it."
In another tweet on March 15, Greene said, "Congress voted to fund Ukraine with $13.6 billion in lethal aid. How much U.S. taxpayer cash will end up in the hands of the neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
"And to top it all off, NATO has been supplying the neo-Nazis in Ukraine with powerful weapons and extensive training in how to use them. What the hell is going with these #NATONAZIS?"
Some Ukrainian right-wing militias, some with white supremacist ties, are backing Ukraine, despite the fact the nation's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is Jewish.
The nonpartisan website FactCheck.org states one of the voluntary paramilitary regiments at the forefront of the battle with Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine was a group called the Azov battalion, which was founded by members of two neo-Nazi groups. One of the group's organizers, Andriy Biletsky, is a white supremacist.
FactCheck.org cited Izabella Tabarovsky of the Wilson Center as saying the battalion's success in 2014 in helping to win back the city of Mariupol from separatists made its members heroes to many in Ukraine.
"If they [Ukrainian citizens] value them, it is not because of any Nazi ideology," Tabarovsky, who manages the Wilson Center's Russia File and Focus Ukraine blogs, told FactCheck.org. "They value its patriotic stance. They value a group that fights an enemy that thinks their country has no right to exist."
Efforts to reach a Greene spokesperson by email were unsuccessful on Friday.
Among those voting for the bill to expedite weaponry for Ukraine was U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, an Ooltewah Republican.
"I am proud to have supported every bill to support Ukraine that has come before Congress," Fleischmann said in a statement to the Times Free Press. "The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act cuts through bureaucratic red tape to allow military aid to reach Ukraine quicker, streamlines the Congressional review process for aid and clarifies existing laws concerning the return, reimbursement and repayment of defense articles.
"The fact that this bill passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority shows Russia that Congress and the American people stand firmly with Ukraine's fight for its sovereignty and freedom," Fleischmann added.
U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Sherwood Republican, said in an emailed statement, "The Lend-Lease Act removes some of the red tape involved in allowing the U.S. to provide military equipment to Ukraine. I am proud to support a bill that lends support to our ally while keeping the priorities of the American people first."