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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is defending her controversial vote to provide $40 billion in military aid to Ukraine — while Americans continue to reel from inflation and the nation faces historic deficits — telling Breitbart News that she believes the funds will allow Ukraine to defend itself and keep the U.S. from being ensnared in the Eastern European conflict.
Speaking exclusively to Breitbart News, Stefanik stood by her decision to vote for the package, despite calling herself “ultra-MAGA,” as the Senate advances the legislation.
Stefanik began by defining what she believes “ultra-MAGA” means — a phrase coined by President Biden to be derogatory, but one that Stefanik and others have embraced.
“I believe in making America great again,” Stefanik began, “I am committed to American greatness, and I also am committed and proud to have the support of voters across this country who share those values.”
She said she “did not like the process” of how the massive bill was presented and hastily brought to a vote, but that she believes the money going to weapons contractors will refill American stockpiles, allow Ukrainians to fight for themselves, and help avoid the need for America to get involved in the Eastern-European conflict.
“I sit on the House Armed Services Committee. I also represent Fort Drum, home to the most deployed unit in the US Army since 9/11. I believe that if you look at how those dollars are broken down — and the first 10 billion specifically go to backfill munitions, weapons, etc — that we need to make sure that we have for our troops. That was in previous Ukraine packages that Congress has passed,” she said.
“I certainly did not like the process. I believe that there needs to be robust investment in border security, there needs to be a focus on all of the crises we face, but we also need to make sure that we continue to stand strong against [Russian President] Vladimir Putin, and that we’re supporting our Ukrainian partners,” Stefanik continued.
Stefanik emphasized that she believes the vote indicates support for Ukraine, while avoiding direct involvement by U.S. troops.
“I’m one of the few members that had gone [to Ukraine] before the crisis, and we want them to continue to understand they have support from the West that does not mean troops on the ground. And I think that financial support is important, that they can take the fight themselves, and that there’s not a consideration of U.S. troops on the ground. I take that very personally, representing the most deployed unit since 9/11, to Afghanistan and Iraq, where I’ve had constituents who have lost loved ones in those theaters over the years,” the representative from upstate New York’s 21st district told Breitbart News.
“I know there is frustration. I share the frustration that there needs to be significant investment in our infrastructure at home and our border security, and that’s what we need to win back the House to stop these imperfect bills from being forced onto the floor,” she added.
In an interview Tuesday with Breitbart News Daily on Sirius XM 125, Stefanik called for “proper oversight” for how the money is spent, and said her priority is that it be used to restock American weapons stockpiles to replace what the U.S. has sent to Ukraine.
“I think it’s important that we conduct proper oversight to make sure that the majority of the money goes towards backfilling any weapons or munitions from our U.S. military that was forwarded to Ukraine,” she told Breitbart News Editor in Chief Alex Marlow.
“I represent the 10th Mountain Division, the most deployed unit in the U.S. Army, and I want to make sure that they have all the resources they need, because so much support was provided to Ukraine [in] earlier packages,” Stefanik added.