Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said Monday that he will be the Republican co-sponsor of an amendment to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that aims to block the provision of cluster bombs to Ukraine.
The amendment reads: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no military assistance shall be furnished for cluster munitions, no defense export license for cluster munitions may be issued, and no cluster munitions or cluster munitions technology shall be sold or transferred.”
Gaetz said that the NDAA will be voted on this week in the House. “We have an opportunity with bipartisanship to stand against the war-mongering Bidens,” he said.
Cluster bombs spread small submunitions over large areas, many of which do not explode on impact, making them a hazard for civilians who can come across them years or even decades later. Because of their indiscriminate nature, cluster munitions are banned by over 100 countries, including many of the US’s top NATO allies.
“Children will be left without limbs and without parents because of this decision by Joe Biden if we do not work together in a bipartisan fashion to stop it,” Gaetz said.
While there is an effort to block the shipment of cluster bombs to Ukraine, they could already be on the way. The Pentagon announced they were providing cluster munitions in the form of 155mm artillery rounds using the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows Biden to ship weapons to Ukraine directly from US stockpiles.
Biden has defended his decision to arm Ukraine with cluster munitions by saying both Ukraine and the US are running low on ammunition. Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy, said the US will arm Ukraine with “hundreds of thousands” of the munitions.