Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky on Thursday single-handedly delayed a bipartisan effort to quickly send $40 billion in aid to Ukraine, which Congress has been trying to fast-track amid Russia’s war. is escalating.
Senate need unanimity remove procedural barriers and approve military and humanitarian aid packages, House pass 368-to-57 on Tuesday. Mr. Paul, a Republican and a libertarian Who generally oppose the US spending on foreign aidprotested, halting the extraordinary effort to quickly get the largest foreign aid package through Congress in at least two decades.
Mr. Paul had sought to change the bill to include a provision requiring an inspector general to oversee spending, and was not satisfied with opposition from party leaders to have a separate vote on the proposal. there. In his protest in the upper houseMr. Paul cited concerns about inflation and rising energy and gas prices.
“My oath of office is to the Constitution of the United States, not to any foreign nation,” he said, adding, “We cannot save Ukraine by destroying the American economy. Ky. ”
The Senate is still expected to pass the aid package, but Mr. Paul’s opposition will delay a vote until at least next week.
Any change to the law would require a second vote in the House and potentially invite other lawmakers to make their own changes, delaying agreement on the legislation. Speaking on the Senate floor, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said lawmakers from both parties had concerns with the proposal.
“If every member held every bill in exchange for every last little need, it would mean this room would be completely and permanently paralyzed,” he warned. “When you have a proposal to change a bill, you have to convince members to support it,” Schumer added. The junior senator from Kentucky didn’t do it. ”
With the Russian campaign becoming more and more violent as the fighting drags into its 11th week, some Democratic and Republican lawmakers have dismissed their skepticism about engaging the United States — at least. financially – in a war abroad. The $40 billion package will allow President Biden to authorize the transfer of up to $11 billion in U.S. weapons, equipment and military supplies, as well as send billions of dollars to aid the Ukrainian government and refugees from the United States. this country.
Antony J. Blinken, secretary of state, and Lloyd J. Austin III, secretary of defense, warned Congress in a letter this week that the package needs to become law by May 19 “to provide military assistance.” uninterrupted importance to our Ukrainian partners. ”