WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) clashed with both Republicans and Democrats on Thursday when he single-handedly delayed Senate approval of a massive $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, while the beleaguered Eastern European country is in the third month of its unprovoked invasion by Russia.
Legislation for the relief package, supported by both Democrats and Republicans and endorsed by President Joe Biden, passed easily in the House on Tuesday with a vote of 368 to 57, and is expected to pass the Senate with a strong vote. bipartisan support, despite Rand’s last-minute opposition temporarily serves as a roadblock to the unanimous agreement the measure needs to go forward.
Paul, a libertarian, is known to be against U.S. foreign interventions, and said his delay was so that language could be inserted into the bill so that an inspector general could be appointed to keep track of how the funds in the Ukraine aid package would be spent.
Additionally, Paul criticized that the $40 billion being offered to Ukraine is significantly more than the United States spends on many domestic programs, and expressed concern that such a large gift of funds would only serve to worsen federal deficits and the inflation.
“No matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is for the national security of the United States of America,” Paul said. “We cannot save Ukraine by condemning the American economy.”
Paul’s opposition runs counter to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who said before Thursday’s vote that senators from “both sides” of the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans, should come together to “Help us pass this urgent funding bill today.”
“They are only asking for the resources they need to defend against this insane invasion. And they need this help right now,” McConnell said. “Helping Ukraine is not an example of mere philanthropy. It directly affects the national security and vital interests of the United States if Russia’s overt aggression is unsuccessful and carries significant costs.”
Despite Paul’s delay, legislation for Ukraine’s aid package is expected to be passed next week.