Almost 50 Democrats snub Biden with vote against cluster bombs for Ukraine

Nearly 50 House Democrats snubbed President Biden by voting for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Thursday that would have sought to block his move to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine.

The amendment, led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), failed in a House floor vote of 147-276, with support from 49 Democrats and 98 Republicans.

Among the Democrats who backed it were Reps. Ro Khanna (Calif.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Jamie Raskin (Md.) and Katie Porter (Calif.).

The display reflected the opposition Biden has faced from members of his own party since he announced his decision to send Ukraine cluster bombs.

Biden described the decision as “difficult” as Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russian troops goes through ammunition at a rapid pace. The president described the cluster bombs as “necessary” to win the war.

Cluster munitions are highly controversial weapons that disperse hundreds of projectiles over a large area, which makes the weapons effective at targeting a broad target, such as an enemy army, but very dangerous when some of the explosions don’t initially detonate on impact.

Lawmakers and human rights activists have sounded the alarm about the potential danger the cluster munitions pose to civilians. More than 100 countries have banned the weapons, though Ukraine, Russia and the United States have not.

U.S. and Ukrainian officials confirmed earlier Thursday that the first cluster bombs have arrived in Ukraine.

Ukrainian General Oleksandr Tarnavskyi said in a CNN interview that the weapons could “radically change the battlefield” as it seeks to fend off Russia. Tarnavskyi also said in the interview that Ukraine hopes the Russians will abandon the areas where cluster munitions are most effective, and he reiterated the promise Ukraine has made that the bombs would be used away from civilians.

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