Inflation Nightmare: Senate Votes to Advance $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Bill
The Senate voted to advance legislation that will give $40 billion in aid to Ukraine – ignoring the fact that Americans are suffering from record inflation brought on by the Biden administration’s massive spending bill last year.
The Senate voted to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed on H.R. 7691, the Ukraine Supplemental Aid Package. The motion passed 81-11. This means that the Senate can begin debate on the Ukraine aid package and then pass it within days.
The legislation would send over $20 billion in military supplies and roughly $20 billion in humanitarian, economic, and other aid to Ukraine.
The vote was largely bipartisan, though a number of America-first Republicans opposed the legislation including Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Rand Paul (R-KY).
Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) voted against the bill attempting to prevent the negative impact it will have on the American people.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have both tried to get the bill passed as quickly as possible but have been hung up by Senator Rand Paul who has demanded that the Senate pass an amendment to create a special inspector general to oversee how the Ukraine military aid is spent.
“My oath of office is the US 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 said on the Senate floor last week. “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”
Paul said, “I think we should have an inspector general. We have one out there and overseeing Afghan waste. He’s been very good at it. You don’t have to wait for an appointment. He’s got a team up and running. And I think that’s what we should do.”
Kelley Vlahos, an editor of Responsible Statecraft for the interventionist Quincy Institute, wrote that Paul “single handedly” held up the Ukraine aid bill.
“Lawmakers, who have shuttled billions of dollars through Congress in seeming record time over the last two months, are predictably annoyed,” Vlahos remarked.
Senator Hawley, meanwhile, pointed out the aid package does not aid America’s interests and has no meaningful oversight on the massive spending bill.
“Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight,” Hawley wrote.
“That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests,” he added.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) proposed an amendment that would streamline and target the aid to better meet the needs of the Ukrainian people.
He said in a statement, “The House proposal would spend nearly ten times the annual defense budget of Ukraine while delegating broad discretion to the President and bureaucrats regarding where and how most of the money is spent. Much of the money will likely go to nations across the world not involved in the conflict.”
He continued, “Putin’s aggression is indefensible, and we should look for appropriate ways to support Ukrainians in the noble defense of their homeland. We must also make sure Congress maintains its constitutional role of directing engagement in conflict and ensure that we are not spending unnecessary funds while in a time of historic inflation and ballooning national debt. My amendment will ensure we can help our friends without compromising our constitutional or financial integrity.”