The bill – which will send $ 39.8 billion in economic, humanitarian and defense aid to Ukraine – adopted by the House of Representatives this week with broad support. President Biden has said he wants to put it on his desk by the end of this week, with Washington trying to prevent funding cuts to Ukraine as Kyiv forces clash with Russian troops in the east and south. In a letter to lawmakers this month urging Congress to approve the aid package, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the remaining aid funds would expire by May 19th.
Paul himself managed to block the progress of the package because the Senate demanded unanimous consent to quickly move such a bill to a final vote. Now the hall must skip all the usual procedural hoops.
Paul called for the appointment of an inspector general to oversee funding, but rejected a proposal by Senate leaders to hold a vote to amend his provision. Changing the bill would force him back into the House.
In response, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) said Paul’s position contradicted the “vast majority” of MPs in the House. “Again, all he will achieve with his actions here today is to postpone this aid, not to stop it,” Sumer added. “This is the help desperately needed by valiant people fighting authoritarianism and defending democracy.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted at a briefing on Thursday that bill already funding included for existing inspectors general, as well as other oversight measures. She also reiterated Biden’s call for the aid package to be passed through the legislative process.
Pavel’s opposition provoked disapproval at home and abroad. This was said by Alexander Sherba, former Ambassador of Ukraine to Austria on Twitter that Paul’s move was a failure to defend Ukraine’s freedom. The Democratic candidate who wants to overthrow Paul in this year’s election, Charles Booker, also stigmatizes obstructing it. Paul’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Last month, Paul said during a hearing on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that US support for Ukraine’s accession to NATO contributed to Russia’s decision to invade. The comment was seen as an echo of Russian-speaking points, leading to a clash with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and provoking criticism from Russian observers.
Cheng reported from Seoul.