US Senator Paul Blocks Swift Passage of $40Bln Ukraine Aid Bill, Citing Economic Concerns
22:11 GMT 12.05.2022 (Updated: 17:06 GMT 20.04.2023)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Senator Rand Paul on Thursday delayed the expedited passage of $40 billion Ukraine aid bill, citing concerns over government spending, debt and inflation.
“We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy,” Paul said during a speech on the Senate floor. “Congress should evaluate the costs of continuing down this path. The biggest threat to the United States today is debt, and inflation, and the destruction of the dollar.”
Paul said the United States cannot afford to be the world’s policemen and continue deficit spending.
The United States will have authorized roughly $60 billion in total for Ukraine in recent years if the legislation passes, Paul said. Only the top five countries in the world spend more than $60 billion on military expenditures and the figure almost equals that spent by Russia, he said.
The United States will have to borrow the money from China in order to give it to Ukraine, Paul said.
The $60 billion total is more than that spent on cancer research or collected in gas taxes, and exceeds the budgets of the Department of Homeland Security and Energy Department, Paul also said.
Paul attempted to add to the legislation an amendment that would authorize federal oversight of the funding provided in the Ukraine aid legislation, which was rejected by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In response, Paul objected to a prior compromise between Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that would have moved forward the legislation, delaying the House-passed measure from reaching President Joe Biden’s desk.
Shortly after the bill's rejection, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki remarked during the Thursday press briefing that the Oval Office encourages all US senators to immediately pass the $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine.
The official further noted that the Biden White House believes the legislation already contains sufficient oversight measures to prevent any misuse of the funds.
"Well, I would say that we agree oversight is critical, that's why the package already includes millions of dollars to support additional oversight measures, including additional funding for existing inspectors general, and we encourage all senators to promptly pass the bill as it stands," Psaki said during a press briefing. "We feel what's in there is sufficient."
Thursday's congressional setback came just a day after the US House of Representatives voted to pass the military package with a 368-57 vote. All 57 votes against the measure came from Republican lawmakers.