Tuberville: Not One Dime For Ukraine Until The Border is Secure

“My position has not changed. My demands have not changed. We should not send a dime to Ukraine until our borders are fully secure.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) took to the Senate floor today to expose the glaring problems with Senator Schumer’s proposed foreign aid legislation, two-thirds of which would go to Ukraine at a time when America is experiencing the worst border crisis in our history.

Read Senator Tuberville’s remarks below or watch his speech here.

“Thank you, Mr. President. I come to the floor in opposition to the Senate’s effort to give away $60 billion more of our taxpayer dollars and weapons to Ukraine. We should not give another dime to Ukraine until we secure our border for our citizens. That’s what we are here for. 

In December, all of 49 Republicans voted to defeat similar legislation—because it did nothing for our Southern Border. Senate Republicans were unanimous. We had a consensus in the Republican Conference that we should not give more money to other countries until we secure our Southern Border. I still believe that. My position has not changed since December. The 17 Republicans who voted to take up this legislation can explain their change of heart themselves. It’s up to them. My demands have not changed. We should not send a dime to Ukraine until our borders are fully secure. We have already given Ukraine more than $120 billion. This is more than enough money to secure every border in our country.

Unfortunately, but predictably, the $120 billion we’ve sent to Ukraine has resulted in a years-long stalemate that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives—both Ukrainian and Russian. This money is in addition to the executive actions that Joe Biden has taken to isolate Russia from the global financial system. None of this has worked to either deter Russia or force parties to the table to negotiate a diplomatic solution. Yet some of my colleagues think that another $60 billion, another $60 billion, of what $120 billion failed to do will do the trick.

It doesn’t make sense. Now should be a time for diplomacy, what a thought. Bring this war to an end. Stop the killing and bloodshed. When Joe Biden took office, he went to the State Department and claimed “diplomacy is back.” That turned out to be a lie.

We have yet to see any diplomatic efforts from this administration. Joe Biden’s idea of diplomacy is sending Antony Blinken to Israel to tell Israel to slow down the war in Gaza. That’s not diplomacy. We need some REAL diplomacy in Ukraine. Right now, we are facing the possibility of regional war in the Middle East. There have been 160 attacks on our troops in the Middle East since October 7. We are also facing the possibility of war in the South China Sea, with China threatening Taiwan. A real leader has the right priorities.

We cannot get involved in every conflict around the world. Last year there was a war in Ethiopia. I ask my colleagues who support Ukraine: should we have paid for that? Last year there was a war in Armenia. I asked my colleagues, “should we have paid for that?”

No one was clamoring for billions in weapons for those two wars. Yet our entire defense industry is now being largely put in service to Ukraine. Under Joe Biden, America’s foreign policy is no longer dictated by American interests. It is not even dictated by American ideas. Instead, it is dictated by a simplistic moralism with no depth or intellectual depth. A land war in Europe is not America’s top priority. Even President Obama said, 13 years ago, we needed to “pivot to Asia” 13 years ago.

Can there be any doubt that our number one rival and adversary is China? It’s not Russia. China is watching us. President Xi is watching America bankrupting ourselves for a war that gains us absolutely nothing. We can have a conversation about shifting Ukraine aid to somewhere higher priority, like Taiwan. But right now, aid to Ukraine is two-thirds of this bill.

The bill also includes money for Gaza—which is controlled by Hamas. The vast majority of Gaza supports Hamas. They elected Hamas as their leaders. This bill would send billions to Gaza. Can there be any doubt that some of that will end up in the hands of terrorists? I don’t think there is. Much of what we have sent to Ukraine has been stolen or wasted. There has been a complete lack of oversight. In this year’s defense bill, we finally got an inspector general for Ukraine aid. Little too late.

There has already been enormous theft and money laundering of our tax dollars in Ukraine. You don’t have to take my word for it. Zelensky fired his own cabinet members for corruption. Ukraine has been one of the most blatantly, notoriously corrupt places in the world for a long, long time.

We are paying Ukrainian farmers—and yet we just punted the farm bill for American farmers next year. We have been paying Ukrainian pensions, we can’t even pay our own pensions in this country. We have paid more than $6 billion for Ukrainian pensions. That is enough money to pay for half of President Trump’s border wall—an amount that the sitting Vice President said was “too expensive.” We do not have a plan; we do not have a plan to win the war in Ukraine.

We also don’t have a plan for Ukraine if it loses. The Biden Administration simply says, “as long as it takes.” That’s not a strategy. That is a blank check, from the American taxpayers to another country. It would be irresponsible to give a blank check to any other country. Three out of four dollars of Ukraine aid in this bill is for after the current fiscal year. It’s not now, we keep hearing “well we can’t wait two weeks”, this money is not going to Ukraine in months. And they say they are running out of aid.

In other words, this money is for the next president. It’s intended to FORCE the next President to continue this war. And so, I stand opposed to this legislation. And I am not the only one. This bill cannot pass the House of Representatives. Therefore, this bill is NOT going to become law. Passing this bill is purely an exercise in messaging.

What message does this bill send? It says those elected to represent Americans care more about the borders of countries halfway around the world than our own. It’s not a winning message. The American people are opposed to the blank check to Ukraine. The American people are saying ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The arguments for this bill have been utterly LACKING. Some of my colleagues have argued that Vladimir Putin wants to conquer the world. This is absurd. He can’t beat Ukraine. Russian tanks are not going to conquer Europe if we don’t pass this bill.

Another argument that has been made is this money will stay in the U.S. to support defense contractors. In fact, a Washington Post columnist tweeted at me yesterday, claiming that we should pass this bill to give more money to Alabama’s defense contractors. You know it wasn’t long ago that this would be referred as CORRUPTION. But that’s the kind of thing that gets published in the Washington Post these days. Simply put, his argument is more about people should die so that we can increase profits for a few American companies. It’s disgusting.

These are the same people lecturing us about the MORALITY of supporting Ukraine. Alabama is deeply, deeply proud to be the top state in America when it comes to the defense industry. I strongly support Alabama’s defense industry. I support funding Alabama’s defense industry to strengthen OUR military. I support funding to replenish OUR stockpiles. It will take months if not years to do that. We are far behind, we could not fight one war right now, much less three. The arguments from the other side just don’t add up. And so, it’s no surprise that they have resorted to personal attacks and name calling.

One of my colleagues accused opponents of Ukraine aid from getting their “messaging from Russia.” This is the best argument that they can come up with: name-calling. If you oppose a blank check to another country, I guess that makes you a Russian. We are $34 trillion in debt. We are borrowing $80,000 a second. $4.6 million a minute.

American taxpayers listen to that one more time. We are borrowing $80,000 a second. $4.6 million a minute. Does that make any sense when you’re $34 trillion in debt?

We cannot afford to keep giving any money to any countries or any illegal immigrants flooding our border. We don’t have it; we’re taxing the future of this country. There is no moral, economic, military, or political argument in favor of more Ukraine aid. Our country, our country has serious problems of our own—and we need to solve them. But there is no solving any of those problems in this room. It’s about spending. The top of that list is the Southern Border.

If we’re so worried about Russia: what about the actual Russians that entering our country on a daily basis through the Southern Border? What about that? Is anyone in Washington worried about the Chinese coming in this country every day? It doesn’t seem like it. Day after day, month after month we are failing to meet this crisis with the seriousness that it deserves.

Earlier this week Senate leadership on both sides of the aisle laid out a border give away bill that had been written in secret by three Senators over a period of months. We were not allowed to see it until last Sunday night. For weeks, for weeks there were leaks to the press about what it was. When my colleagues and I expressed concerns about these leaks, we were attacked. The authors of the bill said that it was fake news—and wouldn’t let us see the bill until last Sunday. However, once we got text, we found out the leaks were all true. The bill was even worse than we had feared. Senators from across the spectrum of the Republican Conference came out in opposition. Even some of the Senators who were initially involved in writing the bill opposed it.

After the bill was rejected, we were told that we were “playing politics” if we weren’t from a border state. Here’s the reality: under the Biden administration, every state is a border state.

I met with some Alabama sheriffs last week from across our state. They are being absolutely overrun. Overrun by drugs. Overrun by criminals. Overrun by illegal aliens. Every single part of every single state is being hurt by this border crisis. You think this body cares? Nope. I won’t [belabor] the point, but the border bill is a giveaway, is a giveaway. But this bill didn’t even attempt to address the seriousness of this crisis. This is the worst border crisis in the history of our country. It is worse than any natural disaster we’ve ever seen.

Yet the response from Senate leadership to this crisis has been superficial, uncaring, and dismissive. The so-called border bill was more of a border giveaway than an actual border bill. Remember: President Trump had the same laws on the books as President Joe Biden does. But President Trump secured the border, it was a priority and Joe Biden opened it up his first day in office. And so, new news, new laws are not absolutely necessary. But certain new laws would be very helpful.

I’ve proposed an amendment to the Ukraine bill that would actually, truly, secure the border. This amendment, the Border Safety and Security Act, would simply suspend all illegal entries completely until DHS has operational control over the border. They have no control, no control whatsoever. My amendment prohibits mass parole programs. The Schumer border give-away bill would have allowed parole programs to continue. My amendment prohibits catch and release and requires detention. The border bill required the release of illegal aliens if we had passed it.

The Schumer bill would have allowed thousands of illegal border crossings a day. My amendment would mean zero illegal crossings. It also allows states to sue Administrations if it doesn’t do its job and enforce the law. We should not pass a Ukraine bill until we first pass a border bill. That was my position in December, and it is my position again today. I reserve the balance of my time.”

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.