Ukraine, U.S. politicians tear up Rand Paul over $40 billion aid bill delays

Senior Ukrainian government officials on Friday slammed Senator Rand Paul after he opposed a bill that would provide $40 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to the Eastern European country.

Republicans in Kentucky have denied bipartisan leaders agreed to a package that was quickly debated and voted on in the Senate, which passed the House on Tuesday night.

“We’ve all seen a @CNN video where [Russian] Soldiers shoot civilians from behind just for fun,” tweet Mikhailo Podoljak, adviser to the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “How many crimes like this are happening in the East and South at the moment? [Ukraine]• The cost of daily delays – hundreds of people killed and raped. Weekly price – thousands. Morning coffee, @RandPaul. “

“We could have started using the new US aid package to more effectively save the lives of Ukrainians defending the democratic world. @POTUS, @SecBlinken, @SenateGOP, @SenateDems and the American people all got great support while @RandPaul delayed much needed support,” wrote Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimtro Kurbia.

Senator Rand Paul denied that bipartisan leaders agreed that the Senate would quickly debate and vote on the aid package.
Sean Thew/Pool via AP

The bill is all but certain to pass the Senate next week and be signed by President Biden, but Republicans and Democrats alike insisted on Paul versus Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that it should be on Thursday.

“Ukraine is not asking us to fight this war,” said Paul’s fellow Kentucky. “They’re just asking for the resources they need to defend against this crazy intrusion, and they need help now.”

“The package is ready. The vast majority of senators on both sides of the aisle want it,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. “Only one thing stands in our way right now. The junior senator from Kentucky is blocking quick passage of Ukrainian aid because he wants to add his own changes directly to the bill at the last minute.”

An investigator stands next to a body exhumed from a grave in the village of Stepanki.
Sergey Bobok/AFP via Getty Images
The picture shows the Dehachi Cultural House used to distribute aid after the Russian bombing.
The Delhaci House of Culture used to distribute aid after the Russian bombing.
Ricardo Moras/Reuters
Fragments inside the Dehachi cultural complex after the Russian bombing.
Ricardo Moras/Reuters
A destroyed chariot.
A destroyed chariot near a village recently recaptured by Ukrainian troops.
Ricardo Moras/Reuters

“His change was strongly opposed by many members of both parties,” Schumer added. “He didn’t even ask for revisions [vote]. He was just talking about my way or the highway. “

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday that Paul’s behavior was “totally inexcusable.”

“The truth is, to be honest, this could have been done on Wednesday night,” Tester said. “I mean, it’s all set. When you have one person who can stand in the way of everything, that’s one of the problems in the U.S. Senate.

“You know, we had this debate in January and we shouldn’t have allowed that,” the lawmaker continued, referring to the Senate filibuster. “If you want to persevere, persevere, but at some point it has to end.”

Paul insisted on adding language to the bill to create a special inspector general position to oversee the distribution of funds.

“My oath of office was against the U.S. Constitution, not against any foreign country. Congress is again trying to pass a spending bill — which I doubt anyone has actually read — and there is no oversight of how the funds are being used,” Paul explained in a twitter thread Thursday night.

“All I’m asking for is an amendment to be included in the final bill to allow the inspector general to oversee how the funds are being used. Anyone who opposes this is irresponsible,” he continued.

Paul insists he sympathizes with Ukraine and ‘they are against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” but said the U.S. “cannot continue to spend money we don’t have”.

Rand Paul.
Senator Rand Paul insisted on creating a special inspector general position to oversee the distribution of relief funds.
Via Reuters’ Al Drago/Pool

“Through this bill, we provide Ukraine with a total of nearly $54 billion in two months,” he wrote. “This threatens our own national security and, frankly, is a compliment to the millions who are struggling to buy gasoline. , groceries and a slap in the face for taxpayers looking for baby formula.”

To advance the aid, McConnell and Schumer presented Paul with a deal that would allow a vote on his amendment, but would also need 60 votes to be added to the bill.

Paul still wouldn’t budge.

“I think they’re going to have to go a long way,” he told Hill.

Biden administration officials have said they expect the latest Ukraine aid measures to continue through September, seven months after Russia’s first incursion.

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