The following is a transcript of an interview with Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia that aired Sunday, May 1, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: And we go now to Senator Tim Kaine, who joins us from Richmond, Virginia. Good morning to you, Senator.
SEN. TIM KAINE: Great to be with you, MARGARET,
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you. Well, we woke up to those images of Speaker Pelosi and top congressional Democrats walking around downtown Kyiv. It’s a statement of support. I know President Biden has asked for that statement to be backed up with $33 billion of funding from Congress. How quickly do you think this will get done?
SEN. KAINE: MARGARET, we’ll- we’ll turn to it as soon as we get back to the Senate tomorrow. And I think we need to push it very, very quickly. Obviously, we just did an aid package for Ukraine about a month ago that was about $13 billion. And that is a dramatic escalation over what we did in 2021 and even before that. But this additional aid is- is necessary to help Ukraine win and beat Russia’s illegal invasion of their country.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, when that last $13 billion package was passed, Republican leader Mitch McConnell was on this program and he said, the Ukrainians want more money, we’ll give it to them. You don’t hear Republican leaders say, ask me to spend more. But that’s exactly what’s happening here. So for Democrats, when you try to push this through, can there be a commitment to just having this be a stand alone aid package to Ukraine? Or does it have to be paired with things like COVID funding?
SEN. KAINE: I don’t think it does, MARGARET. You know, you- you follow the Hill pretty carefully. The procedure of where you put bills together, separate them is- is- is quirky and sometimes unpredictable. But no, we don’t- we need COVID aid. We need Ukraine aid. We should do them together or separately, but we shouldn’t wait around. And I think that’s what May needs to be about for us, is getting both of these done together with the competitiveness bill. I think those three big bills: Ukraine aid, COVID aid, and the competitiveness bill are the three big tasks ahead of us in May.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But the bigger it gets, the slower it goes. Ukraine says they don’t have time, so why not make this a standalone bill? And if it is just a defense-oriented bill, do you need to have food security funding in there? Do you need to have global vaccine funding in there as well?
SEN. KAINE: Well, again, we can break it into smaller pieces or larger pieces. We do need to do this quickly. But remember, MARGARET, in the- in the aid package that we put in a month or so ago, it was about $6.8 billion for military aid and an equivalent amount for humanitarian aid. That aid does not go all out the door at the same moment. Virtually every week President Biden is releasing $500 million, $800 million of the aid. And we still have more of that first package to release to Ukraine. We need to get it to them when they need it with the weapons they need. And we are- we still have some time to pass this next package. But I think my- my colleagues in Congress on both sides, with a very few exceptions, they understand how significant this is. There’s quite a bit of bipartisan resolve on the Ukraine aid package.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Your Democratic colleague, Senator Coons, was on this program a few weeks ago and he said there at least needs to be a conversation about when the United States would use force potentially in Ukraine. Do you think there needs to be a discussion of authorization, of use of force?
SEN. KAINE: I- I think that would be premature, MARGARET, but I think there’s a shared sense that first, if Russia were to take action against any NATO’s ally, article five of NATO’s would- would mandate a military response. And that would be—
MARGARET BRENNAN: But why would it be premature if- if President Biden has already said he won’t send troops? He’s already set a line.
SEN. KAINE: No- yeah. But he’s also said that use of nuclear weapons or chemical weapons could alter the equation. So right now, the- the status quo is we are providing massive amounts of aid to Ukraine, both the U.S. and NATO allies and others. If there were to be an invasion of a NATO country, a kinetic or even a cyber-attack, or if there were to be use of chemical or nuclear weapons in Ukraine, that would change the equation. But for now, I think the right strategy is to flood the zone with military and humanitarian aid.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Okay. One of the issues when it comes to COVID aid, as you know, is it has gotten fairly tangled. But what may happen at the U.S. border—
SEN. KAINE: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: —and the potential expiration that’s slated for the end of May of Title 42, which is pandemic regulation that allows for asylum seeking migrants to be denied immediate entry. Is there a way around this roadblock? Do you see it inevitable that there will be a vote on Title 42?
SEN. KAINE: I think- I think it will, MARGARET. We need- we need a vote on the long- on the COVID aid package. And Republicans have made plain that they want a vote on Title 42 as part of a discussion about COVID aid. I am a strong believer, whether I’m in the majority or minority, that there ought to be amendments and we ought to allow votes on amendments on the floor. I- I worry a little bit that sometimes majority parties, Democrat or Republican, slow walk legislation to try to avoid controversial amendment votes. But I’m- I’m elected by Virginians to vote on things, controversial or otherwise, and if after 28 years in office, I can’t explain a vote on something, I’m not very good at what I’m doing. So I think we’ll have a COVID aid package vote soon, in May, and I think the Republicans will ask for a Title 42 amendment vote as part of it. And we ought to, you know, see what the amendment is and then vote it up or down based upon whether it’s a good amendment or not.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you’ve also been somewhat critical of the Biden administration’s plan to allow for that border health restriction to expire at the end of May. When’s the right date?
SEN. KAINE: MARGARET, what I’ve said is this: Title 42 needs to expire.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.
SEN. KAINE: It’s an emergency regulation, and it needs to be replaced by more permanent procedures and plans to do a better job at the border. And so I was confused about the timing. We were going to have Title 42 expire on May 23 and then have new asylum and border rules go into place May 31. I was just confused with the administration’s messaging about this, but–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is It clear now?
SEN. KAINE: —DHS laid out a pretty- DHS laid out a pretty comprehensive plan last week with six pillars flooding personnel to the border, which they’re doing already, preparing for use of expedited removals for individuals who can’t make a credible claim for asylum, for example. More work in Central America to help their economies grow so that the push of poor economic conditions leading to migration will abate. DHS has now laid out a plan, and the- and the right answer for the border is not an emergency short-term regulation. The right answer is permanent fixes that will help. That- that was part of our immigration reform bill in 2013 that passed the Senate in a bipartisan way that the Republican House refused to take up.
MARGARET BRENNAN: One quick question for you. I know you suffer from long term effects of your COVID infection. There’s already been about a billion-dollar effort underway to study it at the National Institutes of Health. Why is that not enough? And how much more money is needed?
SEN. KAINE: MARGARET, I think I would say I’m experiencing long COVID. There are people who are really suffering it. I wouldn’t call myself a sufferer. I have a bizarre, nerve tingling sensation that feels like my skin is dipped in an Alka-Seltzer that’s just going off 24-7. But I can work, I can exercise, I can do my thing. But as you know, a lot of people with long COVID have respiratory issues, heart issues, fatigue. You’re right. We put a significant amount of money in the American Rescue Plan—
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SEN. KAINE: —and we’re beginning to do major research at the NIH and at other institutions. But we need to do more research, spread the results of the research, provide information to patients, families, providers, employers,–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.
SEN. KAINE: —and then probably there will be a need to provide support to those who are really suffering under long COVID.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We will continue to cover that on this program as well. Thank you, Senator.
SEN. KAINE: Okay.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’ll be back with a lot more. Stay with us.