(RoyalPatriot.com )- In a procedural vote on Monday, the US Senate advanced the $40 billion Ukraine aid package, 81 to 11 with the final vote on the measure expected sometime this week.
After the House approved the bill last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had initially tried to ram the bill through the Senate by unanimous consent. However, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul blocked the move, forcing the Senate to follow regular procedure.
Senator Paul had tried to get an amendment added to the measure without a vote to place the Afghanistan Inspector General in charge of overseeing how the funds were spent.
Paul’s request was denied. But since only one Senator is needed to block a unanimous consent vote, the Senate’s final vote on the $40 billion aid package was delayed.
On Twitter Thursday evening, Senator Paul blasted the Senate for “trying yet again to ram through a spending bill” nobody has read. He added that any Senator who opposes an amendment to grant the Inspector General oversight over the funds “is irresponsible.”
Before Monday’s procedural vote, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer boasted that Senator Paul’s “obstruction” wouldn’t prevent the Senate from approving the $40 billion aid package.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who sided with Chuck Schumer over his Kentucky colleague, defended the aid package, claiming that assisting Ukraine in its fight against Russia “bears directly” on US “national security.” McConnell said it is in our “vital interests” that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine fails, adding that “there is no question” that Ukraine’s defeat would increase the threat to the security of Europe and the United States.
Joining Senator Paul in voting against advancing the bill were Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn (TN), John Boozman (AR), Mike Braun (IN), Mike Crapo (ID), Bill Hagerty (TN), Josh Hawley (MO), Mike Lee (UT) Cynthia Lummis (WY), Roger Marshall (KS), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).
In a statement on Monday, Senator Lee said Congress must “maintain its constitutional role of directing engagement in conflict” while also ensuring that it isn’t “spending unnecessary funds” at a time when the country is facing “historic inflation and ballooning national debt.”
To that end, Lee introduced an amendment to the bill to “streamline and target” the funds “to meet the needs on the ground.”
Senator Mike Braun echoed Lee’s concerns over spending so much money on Ukraine at a time when Americans are struggling. Braun also called out the European Union, noting that the brunt of the financial burden for supporting Ukraine is coming from the US while the EU “isn’t matching what we’re doing to end this conflict in their own backyard