The senator drew attention to a specific provision in the package that allocates $238 million for the deployment of US troops to Europe, a move that he questioned during his speech.
The bill in question, HR 815, is officially known as the "Removing Extraneous Loopholes Insuring Every Veteran Emergency Act" or the RELIEVE Act. As of Saturday, the bill, available for review on congress.gov, had 211 amendments. The legislation is designed to channel over $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific region.
Lee stated, "It provides some $238 million, roughly a quarter of a billion dollars to cover deployments of US troops to Europe. Does that mean we are getting ready to be more directly... involved in this war?" His comments underscored his concern about the potential for increased US involvement in the ongoing conflict.
The senator also scrutinized the specific allocations within the proposed aid to Ukraine. According to Lee, the funding would cover the salaries of "government employees" for an entire year and subsidize "clothing stores" and "concert ticket" vendors. He also criticized the bill's provision for substantial funding for Ukraine's border security, contrasting it with the lack of similar support for US border security.
On Saturday, following his detailed analysis of the bill's costs, Lee filibustered HR 815 for several hours, aiming to delay its passage through Congress.
Throughout the session, Lee proposed multiple amendments to the bill, including one that would have eliminated the provision for "reconstruction for Ukraine." However, Senator Catherine Masto (D-NV) objected to this amendment, attributing her opposition to "right-wing extremists" who had failed to pass a previous version of the bill that would have allocated funds for processing more illegal immigrants at the border.
Lee dismissed the notion that a simple "slur" against his amendment could justify blocking it under Senate rules.
Following his filibuster, Lee posted a brief explanation on X. "During the course of my speech I explained why it really is important... that we should use the opportunity to try to secure the border if a Ukraine package was going to move through," he said. He also noted that while there was supposed to be "an open amendment process," his attempts to submit additional amendments to the bill were thwarted by the actions of other members.