Senate Clears Ukraine Aid After Rand Paul's Block

$40B package on its way to president's desk
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2022 12:32 PM CDT
Senate Clears Ukraine Aid After Rand Paul's Block
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 18, 2022.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The Senate overwhelmingly approved a $40 billion infusion of military and economic aid for Ukraine and its allies on Thursday as both parties rallied behind America’s latest, and quite possibly not last, financial salvo against Russia’s invasion, per the AP. The 86-11 vote gave final congressional approval to the package, three weeks after President Biden requested a smaller $33 billion version and after a lone Republican opponent (Rand Paul) delayed Senate passage for a week.

Every Democrat and all but 11 Republicans, many of them supporters of former President Trump's isolationist agenda, backed the measure on Thursday. Biden’s quick signature was certain as Russia’s attack, which has mauled Ukraine’s forces and cities, slogs into a fourth month with no obvious end ahead. That means more casualties and destruction in Ukraine, which has relied heavily on US and Western assistance for its survival, especially advanced arms, with requests for more aid potentially looming.

“Help is on the way, really significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a strong backer of the measure, addressed concerns by his GOP colleagues. He said Ukraine’s defeat would jeopardize America’s European trading partners, increase US security costs there, and embolden autocrats in China and elsewhere to grab territory in their regions. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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