Several Democratic lawmakers spoke out against the decision. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., ranking member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, called the move “unnecessary and a terrible mistake.”
“Allowing legacy US cluster munitions onto the battlefield in Ukraine undermines our moral authority and puts the US in a position of direct opposition to 23 of our NATO allies that have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” he said in a statement. “The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death, and expensive cleanup generations after their use.”
Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif., a member of the House Armed Services Committee who opposes cluster munitions, introduced an amendment to the floor of the fiscal 2024 defense authorization bill that would prohibit their transfer, even if it is unclear whether Republican leaders will do so. for the House to consider the NDAA next week.
Some Democrats, however, have offered their support to Biden. Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, all members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released statements supporting the measure on Friday.
Congress has banned the transfer of cluster munitions with dud rates higher than 1 percent. Biden dropped the requirement to approve cluster munitions at a rate below 2.5 percent, Defense Undersecretary for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters Friday.