Rand Paul Can’t Stop the $40 Billion Bound for Ukraine, But He Can Stall It (And He Did) – Opinion

“You shouldn’t shove all $40 billion out the door without any oversight. And having a special inspector general, we did it in Afghanistan—it didn’t stop all the waste—it at least makes the thieves think twice about stealing the money.” — Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R).

While Americans are facing fuel and food shortages — and haggling with the Biden administration over the scarity of baby formula — they’re being told, even by Republicans, that sending billions overseas to Ukraine is what they should be caring about. “[T]he most important thing going on in the world right now,” as Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell put it Tuesday.

So, Tuesday’s House vote on the aid package was passed despite some weak opposition from GOP members because of the rush timeline.

On Tuesday, the House approved a $40 billion humanitarian and military aid package for Ukraine. This comes just weeks after Congress approved $13.6 billion of emergency assistance for the war effort. That total — roughly $53 billion over two months — goes beyond what President Biden requested and is poised to amount to the largest foreign aid package to move through Congress in at least two decades.

The result has been that, at least for now, Congress is quickly and nearly unanimously embracing historic tranches of foreign aid with little public debate about the Biden administration’s strategy, whether the volume of military assistance could escalate the conflict, or whether domestic priorities are being pushed aside to accommodate the huge expenditures overseas.

Nearly 60 Republicans opposed this bill. However, only a few spoke out to voice their concern with the legislation. They argued that America cannot afford to spend as much money abroad when the country’s basic needs are being ignored. The measure was opposed by only Republicans, who cited its large size and rushed timeline.

“I think we’d all agree the most important thing going on in the world right now is the war in Ukraine,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, recounting a recent phone call with Mr. Biden in which he said he had advised the president that the package should “move by itself and quickly.”

As the bill moved to the Senate, McConnell’s colleague from his home state, however, decided to literally stand and resist a quick vote to bring attention (presumably) to the size and scope of the bill.

Paul originally wanted language to be included in the rush bill, which would provide oversight for the Special Inspector General of Afghanistan Reconstruction. Senator Chuck Schumer (NYD-D) pointed out that Paul was willing to add new language, without having to hold a vote. “When you have a proposal to amend a bill, you can’t just come to the floor and demand it by fiat,” Schumer said. McConnell was quizzed by many conservatives following the news that he considered Ukraine’s aid paramount. McConnell said Paul is the minority who wants to amend the bill.

McConnell stated that he understands Mr. Paul’s desire to see changes made to the bill but these changes cannot be accepted by the majority. “I think there’s a simple way to solve this: Vote on Sen. Paul’s amendment. We should also pass the supplement. And we should do it today.”

So Rand Paul, whether he’s grandstanding or not (and he certainly has his critics who see a bit of spotlight-hunting in these kinds of efforts) may not be able to keep his colleagues from sending billions to Ukraine during a time of worsening economic crisis at home, but at least he can force a vote on it, even if he may not like the result. This is generally good news for Democracy.


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