New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne was part of a group of 30 House liberals urging President Joe Biden to dramatically shift his strategy on the Ukraine war by pursuing direct negotiations with Russia, the first time prominent members of his own party have pushed him to change his approach to the invasion.
The letter, sent to the White House on Monday, could create more pressure on Biden as he tries to sustain domestic support for the war effort, at a time when the region is heading into a potentially difficult winter.
Pro-Russian Republicans are threatening to cut aid to Ukraine if they take control over Congress, which seems likely in the midterm elections.
In a letter led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the 30 Democrats call on Biden to pair the unprecedented economic and military support the United States is providing Ukraine with a “proactive diplomatic push, redoubling efforts to seek a realistic framework for a ceasefire.”
The Democrats are specifically concerned that the United States is not engaging in regular dialogue with Russia as part of its effort to end a protracted war that has caused thousands of deaths and displaced 13 million people. The Biden administration has been adamant that it is up to Kyiv whether and when to negotiate with Russia, arguing that Ukrainians as a free people should decide their fate.