Pentagon urges Senate to act, unblock $40 bln Ukraine package
Senator objects Ukraine aid package while Pentagon urges Senate to act quickly before funding runs out at the end of May.
The bill, blocked by Senator Paul, was supposed to fund new cargoes sourced for Ukraine. According to Kirby, the hold-up of the bill will likely result in having “a period of time with nothing moving”. The weapons shipments to Kiev wouldn’t immediately stop on May 20 if new funding is not approved. Pentagon currently has approximately $100 million in spending authority remaining for Ukraine aid supplies in the pipeline purchased under the existing budget.
On Tuesday May 11, the US House passes $40 billion Ukraine aid package. On Thursday May 12, the Senate failed to fast-track the bill. Republican Senator Rand Paul objected to unanimous consent without which the provision that allows for bills with strong bipartisan support to go to a quick vote without debate is no longer takes effect.
The Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer refused to add language to the aid legislation. Senator Schumer’s refusal to add to the language that an inspector general be appointed to oversee how the money is spent, has driven Senator Paul to object to the bill.
The US has been funding Kiev’s war with borrowed money, which would add to the US' $30 trillion debt, exacerbating the US' crippling inflation crisis says Paul. He argues that the American people are already “feeling the pain” of the on-going economic crisis driven by excessive deficit spending. Furthermore, he adds that Congress continues to deepen the crisis by increasing foreign spending instead and claims that
“We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”
Schumer stressed that the US had a "moral obligation" to "help" Ukraine to fight Russia's "immoral war," and that Paul's alibi and perspective are majorly opposed by most Democrats and Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also urged for a 'quick vote on the bill. However, Paul’s objection postponed its passage until next week at the earliest.
Kirby reiterated Pentagon’s request to urge the Senate to act as quickly as possible. The goal providing Ukraine with funding by the third week of May and avoid getting to the end of May with “no authorities to draw upon”.
Despite the bill passing the House vote, Paul’s objection has brought to light a great division amongst Republicans. Some, such as Representative Dan Crenshaw, saw the bill as an opportunity to fight a proxy war against Russia without losing a single American troop.
“Investing in the destruction of our adversary’s military without losing a single American troop.”
Paul’s objection is grounded in political and economic concerns to which he states that Americans should not forget that "the Soviet Union collapsed in large part not because it was defeated militarily, but because it ran out of money.”
On the other hand, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene supported Paul and responded to Crenshaw by focusing on domestic issues such as the absence of baby formula on American shelves and how this is affecting the American people. Considering the peoples’ needs a priority superior to the US’ foreign policy against Russia.
Paul also highlights that while the bill brings the total US aid to Ukraine to $60 billion since the start of the conflict, this number matches nearly Russia’s entire annual defense budget.
The disagreements inside the House and Senate show the depth of the economic crisis and the core difference in priorities amongst Senators and Representatives. While some put the American people first, others might be obsessed with weakening Russia even at the cost of its own people.