Gang of Nine House Republicans who voted against resolution to condemn Putin’s abduction of Ukrainian children

Bob NcConnell
April 5, 2024

The topic of Ukraine will be front and center when the House of Representatives returns next week.

In recent interviews, the Speaker has stated his intent to push through funding to support Ukraine, but he has not offered a solid strategy of how he intends to bring a vote to the floor of the House.

What is clear – at least to me – is that if the Speaker does what is in the best national security interests of the United States, and does bring a funding proposal to the floor for a vote that does pass, then given the proclivities of some Members of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” - who either do not know the definition of “freedom” or are strangely selective in whose freedom they care about - his position as Speaker will be under threat.

Repeatedly, the question is asked why these Members are so vociferous in their opposition to funding for aid to Ukraine.  One can repeat the Members’ stated reasons that, in turn, do not answer the question for anyone who is serious about reality.  Reason given-after–reason given collapse under fact-based analysis.

This brings us back to the reality that the actual facts and reality about Ukraine do not seem to matter to the opponents of funding aid. Many, if not most, are simply against; facts and reality is of no consequence. The issue is not only funding. Some are simply opposed to anything in support of Ukraine.

Among the strongest opponents are nine Republican Members who, immediately before the current Congressional recess, voted against H.Res.149, “Condemning the illegal abduction and forcible transfer of children from Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

Attempts by several to explain their opposition were embarrassing.

Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX) argued the use of the word “genocide” within the resolution makes a uniquely serious allegation and suggested the illegal abduction and forceable transfer of children does not fit within the definition. He is wrong. Under Article 2 (e) of the 1948 Genocide Convention, the abduction of children to denationalize them indeed is an element in the process of genocide. Congressman Roy’s argument is a failed excuse.

Others argues that they opposed any distraction from the U.S. border crisis, or that the resolution was nothing more than an attempt to build support for Ukraine, or that the resolution somehow would obligate the United States in some fashion.

Bottom line, in what should have been a no-brainer show of even minimal support for Ukraine, and minimal understanding of international law, and minimal moral stand, the nine Members embarrassed themselves, the Republican Party, Congress, and given the international attention, embarrassed our country.

Particularly appalling, even incomprehensible, is that between them, this Gang of Nine has 29 children. For even a second, did any of these Members consider what it would be like for them as parents, if their children were abducted by Russia, forcibly transferred to Russia, registered as Russian citizens, put into a system where Russian state policy facilitates forced adoptions into Russian families, or puts them into group homes where they must attend indoctrination programs that teach them to believe and publicly declare not only that they are Russian, but that there is no identity as such as Ukrainian, and are instructed only in a Russia-created view of history and Putin-centric view of Ukraine and Ukrainians? Did they consider what effect such an abduction would have on their children? In short, did they even bother to take a moment to care?  

And then there is the question: a “Freedom for Who Caucus?”

As news coverage moves from event-to-event and the vote on H. Res. 149 recedes into the past, these same nine Members and their vote against condemning genocide must not be forgotten or ignored.  The International Criminal Court has already issued an arrest warrant for Putin for the war crime of abduction and forcible transfer of Ukrainian children. While now it only limits his ability to travel out of country, what is even more stunning is that Putin proudly admits that tens of thousands of Ukrainian children have been brought into Russia, separated from their parents and family. So, if Putin himself is confessing to a war crime, why is the Gang of Nine brain trust claiming otherwise?

Included in the Gang of Nine:

Andy Biggs

Arizona’s 5th Congressional District: East Valley – Mesa, Chandler, Queen Creek, and Gilbert. Six children

Learn more

Eric Burlison

Missouri’s 7th Congressional District: Springfield, Joplin metropolitan area, Branson. Two children

Learn more

Warren Davidson

Ohio’s 8th Congressional District: suburban and exurban region between Cincinnati and Dayton. Two children

Learn more

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Georgia’s 14th Congressional District: rural district that includes the cities of Rome, Calhoun, and Dalton. Three children

Learn more

Clay Higgins

Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District: southwestern corner of the state that includes Lafayette, Lake Charles, and New Iberia. Four children

Learn more

Thomas Massie

Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District: suburban Cincinnati counties of Boone, Kenton, and Campbell, northeastern suburbs of Louisville. Four children

Learn more

Matt Rosendale

Montana’s 2nd Congressional District; eastern regions that include Billings, Glendive, and Miles City. Three children

Learn more

Chip Roy

Texas’ 21st Congressional District: areas north of San Antonio, a significant part of Austin, towns of Boerne, Fredericksburg, Ingram, Kerrville, Kyle, New Braunfels, and San Marcos. Two children

Learn more

Tom Tiffany

Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District: counties of Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, St. Croix, Chippewa (partial), Clark, Douglas, Florence, Forest, Iron, Jackson (partial), Juneau (partial), Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon (partial), Oneida, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, Vials, Washburn, and Wood (partial). Three children

Learn more


Co-Founder, U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

Director of External Affairs, Friends of Ukraine Network

The views expressed in the article are Mr. McCnnell’s and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation or the FOUN