Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) may not be able to stop the federal government from shipping another $40 billion the country does not have to entities involved with Ukraine, but he has managed to slow the process down and draw some attention to it.
As Americans face 40-year highs in price inflation, all-time record prices for gas, and shortages of baby formula, Republicans are going along with spending immense amounts on what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday called “the most important thing going on in the world right now.”
The House voted on Tuesday to immediately send the package described as military and humanitarian aid by a 368-57 vote. That came just weeks after $13.6 billion in emergency aid was overwhelmingly approved. The total package of around $53 billion will be the largest foreign aid allocation in at least two decades.
Of the 57 House Republicans who opposed the bill, only a few publicly addressed their concerns. Some argued that taxpayers should not be asked to spend so much in a foreign country when our citizen’s basic needs are not being met.
McConnell set the tone for the immediate transfer of the bill to the Senate for approval by describing a phone call he had with Joe Biden. He said that he told the president that the new aid package should “move quickly.”
When the bill arrived in the Senate on Thursday, Paul stood alone to upset the process by preventing an immediate vote through unanimous consent. Paul said originally that he wanted to amend the bill to include a requirement for the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction to have oversight.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) objected, noting that if Paul wanted to amend the bill he could not do so without holding a vote. McConnell said that Paul could not obtain a majority vote needed to amend the bill. He suggested the full Senate vote down Paul’s amendment and then proceed to approve the aid package all in the same day on Thursday.
In defending his demand for oversight of the spending package, Paul acknowledged simply having an inspector general involved might not stop “all the waste.” However, he said that it would at least “make the thrives think twice about stealing the money.”