Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul blocked the fast-tracking of a massive $40 billion Ukraine aid package through the Senate on Thursday.
Paul objected to the move by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), with the consent of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to pass the bill via unanimous consent. After Paul’s objection, the bill now needs to go through a number of procedural moves, but is still expected to pass sometime next week.
“Reserving the right to object, my oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation,” Paul said when the Senate chair asked if there were any objectors. “And no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America.”
“We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy,” the Republican senator added, referencing the steep increases in gas, food, and used vehicles faced by Americans. “Inflation doesn’t just come out of nowhere, it comes from deficit spending.”
Paul said that it seemed like Congress was “intent” on “adding” to the pain Americans were experiencing economically “by shoveling more money out the door as fast as they can.”
“If this gift to Ukraine passes, our total aid to Ukraine will almost equal the entire military budget of Russia. And it’s not as if we have that money lying around, we will have to borrow that money from China to send it to Ukraine,” Paul stated.
He also claimed that the money being authorized to Ukraine was more than that spent in the first year of the Afghanistan war, collected yearly by the government in gas taxes, spent on cancer research, and the budgets for the Department of Homeland Security.
Paul also said that other European countries had stepped up to help Ukraine and that the U.S. didn’t “always have to be the Uncle Sam, the policeman that saves the world, particularly when it’s on borrowed money.”
He said that a “day of reckoning” awaited if the United States did not stop its “fiscal insanity” before advocating for a special inspector general to look at the bill’s allocation of money.
Schumer responded to Paul’s objection by saying that it was “clear that [Paul] doesn’t want to aid Ukraine,” and that the objection will only “delay the aid” and not stop it. The Democrat added that the aid was “desperately needed by a valiant people fighting against authoritarianism and defending democracy.”
On Tuesday night, the military and humanitarian package passed the House by a vote of 368-57. All those opposed were Republicans.
The bill is likely to pass the Senate next week as it has both Schumer and McConnell’s backing, though several Republicans have said they would vote against the bill. According to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sen. Bill Haggerty (R-TN), Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), and Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) said they would not vote for the bill.