Senate Votes to Advance Billions in Ukraine Aid After Rand Paul Forced Delay

The Senate voted on Monday to advance a $40 billion aid package to go to Ukraine that has led to some significant division inside the Republican Party.

The measure received 81 votes, including all of the Democratic senators who were present. All 11 of the votes against the measure were cast by Republicans.

The vote comes after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led a delegation of Republicans to Kiev in a public display of support for Ukraine. McConnell said at the time that the Senate would approve the aid despite the “isolationist voices” inside the party.

Those voting against the bill included Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mike Lee (R-UT), Elaine Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).

President Donald Trump previewed the Republican split in a statement last Friday criticizing the way the bill was being advanced at a time when American parents were facing shortages of baby formula and surging inflation. Trump said “Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children.”

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts posted a tweet on Friday on behalf of the conservative think tank that said rushing the newest aid package through without being vetted or debated in Congress “will not deter Russia.” He added that the passage of the aid bill is a “typical Washington game” of using a crisis to recklessly advance massive federal spending.

Roberts was responding to a post by neoconservative David French who described the billions in new foreign aid as “a bargain.” He added in a later post that the conservative movement is not responsible to “rubberstamp” the broken process used by The Swamp to force a false choice between “supporting allies and governing responsibly.”

The bill is made up of both military assistance and humanitarian aid and was passed previously by the House by a vote of 368-57. All of the no votes in the House were cast by Republican members.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) was one of the House Republicans voting against the bill. He tweeted about the “gall” of Congress to “jam through” a $40 billion aid bill with no debate, “untold slush funding,” and “no opening of American oil & gas.” He noted that House members were only given four hours to read the bill before voting on it.

When Rand Paul denied the Senate the unanimous consent that was sought by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader McConnell, he posted a tweet saying that his “oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation,”