Rand Paul Stalls Passage on $40B Ukraine Aid Package

Military, humanitarian aid bill has been delayed until next week at the earliest
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2022 7:27 AM CDT
Rand Paul Stalls Passage on $40B Ukraine Aid Package
"No matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America," Paul said.   (Shawn Thew/Pool via AP File)

A $40 billion package of military, economic, and humanitarian aid for Ukraine has strong bipartisan support—but it was delayed in the Senate Thursday because it does not have the support of Republican Sen. Rand Paul. The senator from Kentucky single-handedly delayed the aid package by calling for a last-minute change, blocking the unanimous approval needed for swift passage, the Hill reports. Paul called for the role of the existing inspector general overseeing Afghanistan spending to be expanded to include scrutinizing the new spending, and he rejected an offer from the Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders to hold a separate vote on his proposal before a vote on the Ukraine package.

The bill—which lawmakers expanded from Biden's initial $33 billion proposal— passed the House Tuesday in a 368-57 vote. If changes are made, it will have to return to the House for another vote. The bill will clear the Senate eventually, but Paul has held up passage until at least next week, the AP reports. The senator said Thursday that the bill was too expensive and would add to the federal deficit. "We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both urged senators to pass the bill as a matter of urgency, the Guardian reports. "Ukraine is not asking us to fight this war. They're only asking for the resources they need to defend themselves against this deranged invasion," McConnell said. "And they need this help right now." Paul's remarks made it clear that "he doesn't want to aid Ukraine," Schumer said. "All he will accomplish with his actions here today is to delay that aid, not to stop it." Democrats said Paul's proposal of expanding an existing inspector general's role would deny President Biden the chance to appoint somebody to the post. (More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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