Washington D.C – House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith made the following statement in response to the partisan nature of the Republican response to the situation in Ukraine:


“The Republican’s partisan response to our country's efforts to respond to Russian aggression is extremely troubling.


“We have heard the claim that Putin invaded Crimea because President Obama is weak and our defense budget has been reduced. This is an absurd and clearly partisan claim. In 2008, when our defense budget was at an all time high and George Bush was President, Russia attacked Georgia and occupied two of its provinces. Putin made a calculation at that time that we would not respond militarily, and we did not. It had nothing to do with our defense budget or the perceived strength of a President.


“Second, I am deeply disappointed that the House Armed Services Committee Republicans arranged a briefing on Ukraine with the European Commander and did not invite Democratic members. The briefing from the commander is entirely appropriate and necessary. But it is deeply troubling that this historically bipartisan committee excluded its counterparts.


“As we move forward, it is my hope that Republicans will put aside these blatantly partisan and false accusations and work toward an outcome that is best for our country, not the next election.”