Rand Paul delays Senate passage of $40 billion in aid to Ukraine

Republican Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky on Thursday defied bipartisan leaders and delayed approval of an additional $40 billion to help the Senate until next week. Ukraine And its allies withstand a three-month Russian invasion.

As the Senate prepares to debate and vote Military and economic assistance packages, Paul refused the unanimous consent the leaders needed to proceed. The bipartisan action backed by President Joe Biden underscores the United States’ resolve to bolster support for the outnumbered Ukrainian military.

The bill was overwhelmingly approved in the House of Representatives and has bipartisan support in the Senate. The final pass is unquestionable.

Nevertheless, Paul’s objection escaped the overwhelming feeling in Congress that it should fight to withstand Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion and swiftly help Ukraine prevent escalation of the war.

It was also a revolt against fellow Kentucky Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who on Thursday urged “both sides” to “help us pass this emergency funding bill today.”

Paul, a libertarian who often opposes U.S. foreign intervention, said he wants to insert a phrase into the bill without a vote that would force inspectors to look into new spending. He has a long history of calling for last-minute changes by threatening to withhold or postpone legislation just before passage, including lynching, Russian sanctions, federal shutdown prevention, defense budgets, government surveillance, and health care provision. 9/11 Attack First Responders.

Democrats and McConnell opposed Paul’s coercion and offered to vote on his language. Paul was likely to lose the vote and he turned down the offer.

Paul, who failed to secure the party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential nomination, argued that the added spending would be more than the US spends on many domestic programs, comparable to Russia’s overall defense budget, and would deepen the federal deficit and exacerbate inflation. Last year’s budget deficit was nearly $2.8 trillion, but it is likely to fall and the measure’s spending is less than 0.2% of the US economy, with negligible inflationary implications.

“No matter what cause I sympathize with,” Paul said, “my oath of office is for the national security of the United States of America.” “You cannot save Ukraine by ruining the American economy.”

Democrats say they oppose Paul’s plan because it will expand the powers of the existing inspectorate, which is currently limited in scope to Afghanistan. It would deny former President Biden a chance to be appointed, they said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “If you look at what the Kentucky congressman is saying, it’s clear he doesn’t want to help Ukraine.” “All he will achieve with his actions here today is to delay, not stop, support.”

Schumer and McConnell stood almost side-by-side as they pushed the bill forward.

As McConnell said of Ukraine, “They just demand the resources they need to defend themselves from this crazy invasion.” “And they need this help now.”

The House of Representatives approved the bill at 368-57 on Tuesday. All “no” votes came from the GOP, but all Democrats and most Republicans supported it.

Bipartisan support for Ukraine has been driven in part by accounts of Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians that cannot be ignored. It also reflects Putin’s strategic concerns about allowing Putin to seize unanswered European territories as an attack on its western neighbor enters its 12th week.

McConnell said, “Helping Ukraine is not just an example of philanthropy. “The unsuccessful and significant cost of a naked Russian aggression directly affects the national security and vital interests of the United States.”

Biden administration officials said they expect the latest support measures to last until September. But with Ukraine inflicting massive military and civilian losses and it’s unclear when the battle will end, how much more aid should Congress provide at a time of crisis that could ultimately require the US to face massive fiscal deficits and further spending? You will be faced with a decision to House.

If the latest legislation is added to the $13.6 billion Congress approved in March, U.S. aid to the region will well exceed $50 billion. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, this will total $6 billion more than the United States spent on military and economic aid worldwide in 2019.

The impetus for the passage came as Russia continued to bomb cities and Ukrainian forces in southern and eastern Ukraine. Reflecting the international concerns sparked by the attack, Finnish leaders have announced their support for NATO membership, and Sweden appears not to be far behind.

Biden demanded $33 billion from Congress two weeks ago. It didn’t take long for lawmakers to add $3.4 billion to his request for military and humanitarian programs.

The bill includes $6 billion for Ukraine’s intelligence, equipment and military training, and $4 billion to support Kyiv and NATO allies’ military build-up.

The Pentagon has $8.7 billion to rebuild the arms stock it has shipped to Ukraine, and $3.9 billion to the US military in the region.

The bill includes $8.8 billion to keep the Kyiv government functioning, $5 billion to provide food to countries around the world that depend on war-ravaged Ukrainian crops, and 9 to teach English and other services to migrant Ukrainian refugees. Billions of dollars included. to America.

The biggest hurdle to speedy approval of aid was addressed this week as Biden and Democrats withdrew calls to include billions of dollars more in the US response. coronavirus infectious disease global epidemic. Republicans want a separate COVID-19 bill to become the battlefield for the election season fight against immigration that divides Democrats.

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