Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) said this week that he wouldn’t cast a vote in favor of any short-term expenditure plan that includes more money for the Ukrainian war efforts. This comes barely ten days before the US government is expected to shut down in the event a deal is not made.
Leaders in Congress are trying to come to an agreement on a continuing resolution that would keep the federal government running after September 30. But it’s not clear if the continuing measure will include the extra $24 billion in help for Ukraine which President Biden wants.
Paul wrote an opinion piece and talked about the problem on the Senate floor. He said that the federal government shouldn’t “be held hostage over Ukraine funding.”
Paul wrote online, “Today, I’m letting the leadership of Congress and @POTUS know that I will fight against any attempt at holding the federal government hostage for money for Ukraine. I won’t agree to fast-tracking any spending bill that gives Ukraine more money from the U.S.”
Paul wrote in his opinion piece that the average amount of help sent to Ukraine at this point is “$6.8 billion a month, or $223 million each day.”
He doesn’t want taxpayers to pay for “an additional endless quagmire,” and he called efforts to include the funding in the ongoing resolution a “clear dereliction of duty.”
“Since there doesn’t seem to be a clear end in sight, it’s becoming more probable that Ukraine will end up being another endless mess that the American people will have to pay for. That’s why less people are in favor of the war. A CNN study from August shows that most Americans now don’t want Congress to give Ukraine any more money.”
“Both parties in charge of the Senate know this. They are attempting to force our hand by stifling our government primarily by tucking the $24 billion assistance request into an ongoing resolution. The American people would suffer if we continue to finance the unending conflict in Ukraine or if the unified party shuts down the federal government.”
“This is clearly not doing your job, and I won’t put up with it. As people who work for the American people, you shouldn’t stand for it, I told my peers. When we vote on a bill, it should be about how to pay for our own government, not someone else’s. I will do everything I can to stop a bill from passing that gives money to Ukraine.”
Paul further stated, “Corruption runs very deep in Ukraine,” referring to reports of the dismissal of six deputy defense ministers by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense due to allegations of corruption.
Paul pointed out that “this occurred two weeks after Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov was fired due to allegations of improper handling of military contracts by the Ministry of Defense.”
Paul’s statement was made the day before senators were scheduled to meet this week with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine.
In the past few weeks, Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican Senate, has asked Congress for funds to assist Ukraine more. Chuck Schumer, who is the leader of the Democrats in the Senate (D-NY), also wants more money for Ukraine, but he didn’t say if he would include it in a bill to keep the government running.
“We would prefer to collaborate with the Republicans on the CR in a nonpartisan manner. We’ve been told that’s what they want to do. We did it very well with the budget, and I hope we can do it again here,” Schumer stated this week.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), whose party controls the House, also wants more money for Ukraine, but he wants it to be in a separate bill, not part of a bill that pays for the government.