Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Thursday threw a wrench in the Senate’s plans to swiftly pass the $40 billion Ukraine package this week, delaying the vote until at least next week, and possibly beyond.
According to the Hill, Paul wanted to include language in the bill to expand the Afghanistan inspector general’s role to include oversight of the Ukraine funds. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) offered him a deal that would have set up votes Thursday afternoon on the funding bill and on an amendment from Paul.
The Kentucky senator objected to the deal, saying that his oath of office “to the United States Constitution, not to any foreign nation.”
“And no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America,” Paul continued.
“We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy,” he declared, arguing that the historic inflation the nation is seeing is due to the regime’s profligate deficit spending.
“Americans are feeling the pain, and Congress seems intent only on adding to that pain by shoveling more money out the door as fast as they can,” Paul said.
“It’s not like that we have that money just laying around. We’ll have to borrow money from China to send it to Ukraine,” he added. “With a $30 trillion debt, we can’t afford to be the world’s policeman.”
Paul said that he wanted to modify the bill with his language inserted into the text of the bill rather than take chance with an amendment, which could be voted down.
“It’s clear that the junior senator from Kentucky’s remarks that he doesn’t want to aid Ukraine. That is not the case for the overwhelming majority here,” Schumer said in response, adding that the aid is “desperately needed by a valiant people fighting against Authoritarianism and defending Democracy.” The Majority Leader then rejected Paul’s proposal to modify the bill.
Senator @RandPaul Objects To Passage Of $40 Billion Foreign Aid Package To Ukraine Until Financial Oversight Is Included
"My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation."
Schumer Refuses To Modify, Paul Objects pic.twitter.com/HnxUxPCFge
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) May 12, 2022
“I think they’re going to have to go through the long way,” Paul told the Hill after the floor standoff.
“There is now only one thing holding us back, the junior senator from Kentucky is preventing swift passage of Ukraine aid because he wants to add, at the last minute, his own changes directly into the bill … He is not even asking for an amendment. He is simply saying my way or the highway,” Schumer told reporters.
McConnell had signaled that he wanted to get the Ukraine package passed on Thursday. He added that while he understood that Paul wanted to change the bill that the “simple way to solve this” was to have a vote on Paul’s amendment and then a vote on the Ukraine aid, as Schumer offered.
“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, and they need help right now,” McConnell said.
Paul explained himself further on Twitter, Thursday evening.
“All I requested is an amendment to be included in the final bill that allows for the Inspector General to oversee how funds are spent. Anyone who is opposed to this is irresponsible,” he wrote.
“While I sympathize with the people of Ukraine, and commend their fight against Putin, we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have. Passing this bill brings the total we’ve sent to Ukraine to nearly $54 billion over the course of two months,” Paul continued.
“It’s threatening our own national security, and it’s frankly a slap in the face to millions of taxpayers who are struggling to buy gas, groceries, and find baby formula.
Conservatives on Twitter celebrated Paul’s move Thursday afternoon,” he concluded.
“Rand Paul is a legend!!! We need 100 of him in the senate,” wrote Donald Trump Jr. “Most Hurt: BIG WAR/Mil Industrial Complex, DC insiders getting Raytheon kickbacks, and generals looking for board seats… and those looking to get into a nuclear war over two corrupt NON-NATO countries.”
.@RandPaul is a legend!!! We need 100 of him in the senate.
Most Hurt: BIG WAR/Mil Industrial Complex, DC insiders getting Raytheon kickbacks, and generals looking for board seats… and those looking to get into a nuclear war over two corrupt NON-NATO countries. https://t.co/qX1sV6U2lo
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 12, 2022
Only in Congress would @RandPaul’s demands that the U.S. provide a modicum of oversight for the billions of dollars worth of weapons we are shipping to a country with a history of corruption and illegal arm sales be considered “unreasonable”. https://t.co/H4Am1qAAV5
— Dan Caldwell 🇺🇸 (@dandcaldwell) May 12, 2022
Rand Paul is putting Americans First!
— Troy Nehls (@SheriffTNehls) May 12, 2022
Rand Paul is the man
Thank you for making Senators go on record on this https://t.co/3JydGJCwvv
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) May 12, 2022
Rand Paul is a national treasure.🇺🇸
— Tim Swain (@SwainForSenate) May 12, 2022
Thanks to @RandPaul, we still have time to BLOCK the $40B Ukrainian Slush Fund that puts America Last!
Call your Senators offices and tell them to vote NO!
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
— Alex Bruesewitz (@alexbruesewitz) May 12, 2022
Thank god for Rand Paul. It will be telling to see which Republican Senators back his efforts.
Simply getting a hearing on the specifics of the aid package would be a win at this point. https://t.co/o6LCGwcQNX
— Joe Kent for WA-3 (@joekent16jan19) May 12, 2022