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Schumer invokes ancestors’ deaths at hands of Nazis in calling on Johnson to put foreign aid bill on House floor

By Sam Fossum, CNN

(CNN) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday invoked his ancestors’ deaths at the hands of the Nazis as he called on House Speaker Mike Johnson to put a $95 billion foreign aid bill on the floor and cautioned about the dangers of catering to dictators.

Schumer, in a personal moment at a news conference in New York, told the story of his Jewish ancestors during World War II in Chortkiv, Galicia – a direct warning to Johnson about not standing up to Russian President Vladimir Putin as foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan remains stalled in the GOP-controlled House.

“In 1941, the Nazis came in, they told my grandmother who was well known in the town of Chortkiv to gather her family on the porch. Thirty-five members gathered from ages in the 80s to three months old. The Nazis said, ‘You’re coming with us.’ She said, ‘We’re not moving’ and they machine gunned every one of them dead. That’s what happens when you try to suck up to dictators. You can’t. Johnson has to learn that lesson,” said the New York Democrat, who just returned from Kyiv.

CNN has reached out to Johnson for comment.

In a statement earlier this month, the Louisiana Republican said a standalone foreign aid bill, without anything addressing US border security, was unacceptable. Republicans also scuttled a bipartisan negotiated border security bill in the Senate.

“The mandate of national security supplemental legislation was to secure America’s own border before sending additional foreign aid around the world. It is what the American people demand and deserve,” Johnson said at the time.

Schumer, who met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on his trip to Kyiv, said Sunday that it is a “moral imperative” for the US to support Ukraine as he drew parallels to World War II.

The Democratic leader also criticized Johnson for prioritizing what he called “political expediency” as aid for Kyiv remains stalled in the House.

“He is so afraid of the radical right, the hard right in his caucus — it’s only about 20 or 30 members — that he has not done it. We are telling Speaker Johnson: History’s eyes are upon you. The history of the West is on your back. Do not abandon things. And do not do things for political expediency. Do not show blind obedience to Donald Trump, who’s a pal of Putin,” Schumer said.

His comments come as the White House and Democrats continue to ramp up the pressure campaign against Johnson and House Republicans. Congress returns this week with Ukraine aid still unfulfilled and deadlines to the fund government looming –with the House GOP conference deeply divided on many of these key issues.

Schumer also addressed government funding Sunday, saying: “Let’s hope. We Democrats are working as hard as we can in exploring every method to avoid a shutdown. We hope our Republican colleagues will see the light and want to avoid a shutdown too.”

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