U.S. Representative Zach Nunn met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, members of the Ukrainian parliament, and intelligence officials in Kyiv on February 9 as a member of a bipartisan U.S. House delegation.
At this writing, Nunn has not posted about the trip on his social media feeds or announced it in a news release, but he appears in pictures others shared from the visit, and is second from the left in the photo above.
Four of the five members of Congress on this delegation serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. A committee news release mentioned that Nunn “sits on the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions and currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.”
Representative Mike Turner, who chairs the Intelligence committee, said at a news conference in Kyiv, “We came today so that we could voice to President Zelenskyy and others that we were seeing that the United States stands in full support of Ukraine.”
Turner struck an optimistic tone about securing further U.S. funding in “support for Ukraine and their defense of Russian aggression,” despite recent happenings in Washington.
The Biden administration asked Congress in October to pass an additional aid package for Ukraine and Israel, which would also contain border security policies and funding. Following months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators released legislation last week that included $60 billion in military aid to Ukraine as well as many border policies Republicans had sought.
But former President Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson loudly opposed the deal, as did some prominent conservative commentators, who said Congress should not act on the border until after the 2024 general election. Most Senate Republicans including Iowa’s Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst voted against proceeding with debate on the bill on February 7.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put forward a separate Ukraine/Israel/Taiwan funding bill without the border provisions. Senators voted on February 9 to proceed with debating that legislation in the coming days. Grassley was a yes, and Ernst was not present.
Speaking in Kyiv, Turner characterized the maneuvering as “largely procedural and non-substantive debates that are occurring in Congress.” He added,
There’s overwhelming support in the House of Representatives and in the Senate for support for Ukraine.
We certainly look forward to this legislative process being resolved. And I look forward to when we can return and discuss with Ukraine the manner in which they’re putting those resources to success against the Russian aggressors.
Nunn did not speak at the February 9 press conference. He has long been a vocal supporter of Ukraine, having spent time in the country as an international elections monitor in 2019. Before being elected to Congress, Nunn called for President Vladimir Putin to be charged with war crimes related to Russia’s invasion in 2022.
However, in recent months Nunn’s support for further U.S. military assistance to Ukraine has wavered. As Congress navigated a standoff over the federal budget in late September, Nunn said in a news release, “U.S. taxpayers have already sent nearly $135 billion to support the Ukrainian people, which is more than enough to give $3,000 to every Ukrainian citizen. While I believe that Russia must be stopped and punished, with American families hurting, sending even more money to Ukraine to help them rebuild their economy is not a good use of our tax dollars.”
Speaking to the Des Moines Register at that time, Nunn said, “I don’t think that any taxpayer should have to dig in their pocket to defend somebody else’s border if we can’t first defend our own.”
An analysis by the American Enterprise Institute in November 2023 found that almost 90 percent of the funding the U.S. has provided to Ukraine has been spent in our own country “to build new weapons or to replace weapons sent to Kyiv from U.S. stockpiles.”
I will update this post as needed if Nunn comments on his latest Ukraine visit or his stance on the foreign aid package the House may soon consider.
Top photo was released by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on February 9. From left: U.S. Ambassador Bridget Brink, Representative Zach Nunn (R, IA-03), Representative Jason Crow (D, CO-06), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Chairman Mike Turner (R, OH-10), Representative Abigail Spanberger (D, VA-07), and Representative French Hill (R, AR-02).