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Congressional Progressive Caucus withdraws letter to Biden after criticism

The letter called on the president to enforce a 'proactive diplomatic push' to end the conflict in Ukraine, with military help.
Pramila Jayapal
Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 19:47:32-04

House representatives and the Congressional Progressive Caucus said Tuesday it would be withdrawing a letter addressed to President Joe Biden that urged him to mix a "proactive diplomatic push" with military aid to end the conflict in Ukraine.

The letter, which received criticism for its appearance of trying to soften the U.S. policy stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, was signed by 30 members of Congress.

Several of those who signed the letter said they did not intend to take the position of softening U.S. policy on Russia's conflict with Ukraine.

The Progressive Caucus quickly put out a press release further explaining the member's positions. In the release, the members proposed “incentives to end hostilities, including some form of sanctions relief.”

The members also said they echoed Biden's concern that Vladimir Putin “doesn't have a way out right now."

In the original letter, the Progressive Caucus wrote to Biden that their position is consistent with the president's that “there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here.”

The letter said, "We are under no illusions regarding the difficulties involved in engaging Russia given its outrageous and illegal invasion of Ukraine and its decision to make additional illegal annexations of Ukrainian territory."

Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said the letter was drafted "several months ago" and "unfortunately was released by staff without vetting," Axios reported.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman released a statement that called "the timing of the release" of the letter "unfortunate" and "outside" her control.

Rep. Coleman said, "in no way should the letter be conflated with recent statements by Congressional Republicans threatening to end aid to Ukraine."

Sen. Bernie Sanders disagreed with the letter on Tuesday, saying Russia's invasion of Ukraine "has to be resisted."

Rep. Seth Moulton tweeted a statement that said, "The suggestion that we make concessions on behalf of Ukraine is presumptuous, out of touch, and would only embolden Putin."