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Progressive Democrats withdraw letter to Biden on Ukraine approach: NPR


Rep. Pramila Jayapal and her fellow House Progressive Caucus members hold a press conference ahead of the vote on the Cut Inflation Act on August 12, 2022.

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Progressive Democrats withdraw letter to Biden on Ukraine approach: NPR

Rep. Pramila Jayapal and her fellow House Progressive Caucus members hold a press conference ahead of the vote on the Cut Inflation Act on August 12, 2022.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A day after House Progressives sent a letter to President Biden urging him to change his approach to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the group abruptly changed course amid an intense backlash from Democratic lawmakers.

“The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, caucus chair, said in a statement Tuesday.

The about-face comes after frustrated Democratic lawmakers took to social media to offer their explanation of the letter, originally drafted and signed by 30 members this summer, was not recirculated until it was released on Monday.

Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-California, tweeted that she signed the letter in late June, but “wouldn’t be signing it today.”

“Timing in diplomacy is everything. I signed that letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then. I would not sign it today,” Jacobs wrote. “We must continue to support Ukraine economically and militarily to give it the leverage it needs to end this war.”

Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., a former Progressive Caucus Leader, tweeted that he had “no idea” why the letter was posted.

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., another signatory who also chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that “only Ukrainians have the right to determine the terms under which this war ends.”

In his reversal on Tuesday, Jayapal took responsibility for publishing the letter, noting that it was “drafted several months ago” and “unfortunately, was published by staff without verification.”

Jayapal added that the message from House Progressives is “confused” with recent comments by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suggesting that Republicans could withdraw funding from Ukraine if they take over the House in november.

“The proximity of these statements has left the unfortunate impression that the Democrats, who have firmly and unanimously supported and voted for every package of military, strategic and economic assistance to the Ukrainian people, are somehow aligned with the Republicans who seek to unplug America support for President Zelensky and Ukrainian forces,” Jayapal wrote, stressing, “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

In the letter, House Progressives urged Biden to engage directly diplomatically with Russia, calling on the president to “couple the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with momentum.” proactive diplomacy, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”



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