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The Senate advanced a $40 billion Ukraine aid package on Monday with wide support from both Democrats and Republicans to move the package forward.
The final vote will be held Wednesday or Thursday, and is widely expected to pass as the massive spending bill has support from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Monday’s vote, a procedural step to move debate on the bill forward passed easily with a vote of 81-11.
The bill’s advancement comes after Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the bill from passing via unanimous consent last week, arguing that government spending was out of control and that it would have harmful consequences for the American economy.
“His obstruction will not prevent Ukraine aid from ultimately passing the Senate,” Schumer said Monday, according to Bloomberg. “One way or another we are going to get this done and send a clear message to Ukraine and the world that America stands on the side of democracy and against Putin’s deeply immoral campaign of violence.”
Just 10 Republicans joined Paul in voting against advancing the package, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Sen. John Boozman (AR), Sen. Mike Braun (IN), Sen. Mike Crapo (ID), Sen. Bill Hagerty (TN), Sen. Josh Hawley (MO), Sen. Mike Lee (UT), Sen. Cynthia Lummis (WY), Sen. Roger Marshall (KS), and Sen. Tommy Tuberville (AL).
Eight senators, including Republicans Richard Burr (NC) and Pat Toomey (PA), did not vote. Thirty-seven Republicans voted to advance the bill.
McConnell, following a visit to Ukraine over the weekend, seemed to suggest that Paul and others who opposed the bill were isolationists.
“There have always been isolationist voices in the Republican Party,” he said. “I think one of the lessons we learned in World War II is not standing up to aggression early is a huge mistake.”
On Monday, Hawley said he opposed the bill because it was not in America’s best interest.
“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,” he tweeted. “That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests”
In an interview on Fox News, Hagerty seemed to agree with Hawley saying that it was time for Washington to focus on domestic issues.
“We’re not taking care of our own country,” he said on Sunday. “The best thing [the] Biden administration could do is stop the war that he’s waged on American industry. That would lower prices overall. That would take the funding away from Putin’s war machine against Ukraine and make our economy better here.”
The bill includes $6 billion in direct security funding, $4 billion in foreign military aid, and another $4.35 billion in humanitarian aid, according to Bloomberg.
Congress approved $13 billion in Ukraine aid last month.