U.S. Senate Passes $40 Billion Ukraine Aid Bill

Only 11 Republicans voted ‘no.’

QUICK FACTS:
  • Amid baby formula shortages and a collapsing southern border afflicting the nation, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved $40 billion in new aid for Ukraine’s fight against Russia on Thursday.
  • The bill will now be sent to the White House for Joe Biden to sign into law.
  • The Senate voted 86-11 in favor of the package, which included military, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
  • All 11 no votes were from Republicans: Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, John Boozman of Arkansas, Mike Braun of Indiana, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Lee of Utah, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
SUPPORT FOR THE BILL:
  • “This is a large package, and it will meet the large needs of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their survival,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
  • “I applaud the Congress for sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom,” Biden said in a statement.
CRITICS OF THE BILL:
  • Sen. Paul blocked the legislation’s swift passage last week, and tweeted before the Senate’s approval of the bill, “If Congress really believed giving Ukraine $40B was in our national interest, they could easily pay for it by taxing every income taxpayer $500. My guess is they choose to borrow the $ bc Americans might just decide they need the $500 more to pay for gas.”
  • Paul said in a floor speech before objecting to the legislation’s passage last week that his “oath of office is the US constitution not to any foreign nation” and, “we cannot save Ukraine by dooming the US economy.”
  • “Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight,” Sen. Hawley tweeted Monday. “That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests.”
BACKGROUND:
  • The U.S. Senate passed the bill nine days after the House passed the package in a similarly bipartisan 368-57 vote.
  • Under Senate rules, any one senator can slow down the process. It took about a week to overcome Paul’s objection through timely procedural steps that the majority leader had to take on the Senate floor, CNN notes.