Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kai) objected to the Senate vote on aid to Ukraine on Thursday, delaying the passage of the bill until next week and easing bipartisan pressure on Kiev to maintain unwavering support.
The bill – which would send $ 39.8 billion in economic, humanitarian and defense aid to Ukraine – passed with overwhelming support in the House of Representatives this week. President Biden said he wanted it at his desk this weekend, saying Washington was trying to close the gap in funding Ukraine because Kiev’s forces were clashing with Russian forces in the east and south of the country. In a letter to lawmakers this month urging Congress to approve the aid package, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the remaining approved aid funds would expire on May 19.
Paul alone was able to block the progress of the package because a final vote in the Senate would require unanimous consent to move such a bill quickly. Now, the chamber must jump through all the usual systematic hoops.
The House has approved about 40 40 billion in aid to Ukraine to fight Russian aggression
Paul requested that an inspector general be appointed to oversee the funding but rejected a proposal by Senate leaders to vote on an amendment to his provision. If the bill was changed, it would be forced to go back to the house.
In response, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) says Paul’s position conflicts with the “overwhelming majority” of lawmakers in the chamber. “Again, what he will do with his activities here today is to delay that help, not to stop it,” Schumer added. “It is a much-needed aid to the heroic people who are fighting dictatorship and defending democracy.”
White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie noted in a news briefing Thursday that the bill includes funding for the existing Inspector General, as well as other oversight measures. He also reiterated Biden’s call for the aid package to be passed through legislation.
Paul’s opposition has caused discontent at home and abroad. Former Ambassador of Ukraine to Austria Alexander Sherba On Twitter That Paul’s move amounts to a failure to protect Ukraine’s independence. Democratic candidate Charles Booker also wants to oust Paul in this year’s election Condemnation His barrier. Paul’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Last month, Paul said during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that US support for Ukraine’s accession to NATO contributed to Russia’s decision to invade. The remarks were seen as an echo of Russian-speaking points, which led to a confrontation with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and provoked reprimands from Russian observers.
Cheng reports from Seoul.