The House on Wednesday night voted down an amendment to the Pentagon appropriations bill introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that would have banned the transfer of civilian-killing cluster bombs to other countries.
The amendment failed in a vote of 160-269, with only 85 Republicans and 75 Democrats supporting the measure.
Cluster bombs spread small submunitions, known as bomblets, over a large area. They are so hazardous to civilians because many of the submunitions do not explode on impact and can be found years or decades later, often by children. Due to their indiscriminate nature, cluster bombs are banned by over 100 countries.
The vote on Gaetz’s amendment came after the Biden administration announced a weapons package for Ukraine that included the second tranche of cluster bombs in the form of 155mm artillery shells. The administration first shipped cluster bombs to Ukraine in July. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed that without the widely-banned munitions, Ukraine would be “defenseless.”
According to recent media reports, the administration has also agreed to provide Ukraine with Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) that will be armed with cluster munitions. The provision would be a huge escalation as the ATACMS have a range of up to 190 miles, meaning Ukraine could use them to fire cluster bombs into Russian territory.
The House also voted down two amendments aimed at reducing US support for the proxy war in Ukraine. One amendment, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), to strip $300 million in military aid for Ukraine included in the Pentagon appropriations bill was rejected in a vote of 104-330 and only received support from Republicans.
Another amendment introduced by Gaetz would have cut off military support for Ukraine altogether. It failed in a vote of 93-339 and also only received support from Republicans.