US Senate Passes $40 Billion Aid Package To Ukraine During 40 Year High Inflation

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation to give $40 billion to Ukraine in economic and military aid, while Americans suffer from food shortages and inflation.

The Senate voted on H.R. 7691, the Ukraine Supplemental Aid Package, which passed 86-11. The vote featured strong Republican and Democrat support for the bill; however, some populist Senate Republicans opposed the legislation, believing that America should focus its efforts on domestic crises such as 40-year-high inflation and baby formula shortages.

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

Senate Republican populists could not stop the overwhelming Senate support to stop the legislation, even though it required 60 votes, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) managed to delay the passage of the bill until Thursday.

Paul said that the United States would have to borrow the $40 billion to send the tens of billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine. The Senate did not vote on Paul’s proposed amendment to have an inspector general ensure the billions were spent wisely.

Paul lamented the “bipartisan consensus” that Republicans need to give Democrats more social welfare spending to obtain more military spending.

The bill’s delay garnered extra attention for the legislation, which led many lawmakers to question the need to increasingly have the United States intervene on behalf of Ukraine during its conflict with Russia.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) also became a sharp detractor of the Ukraine aid bill, contending that it is not in America’s interests.

“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,” Hawley wrote.

“That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests,” he added.

Hawley said, “The $40 billion Ukraine bill represents a return to nation building. Wrong choice. I’m a no.”

“I support helping Ukraine expel the Russian invasion, but as inflation, gas prices, and shortages wallop Americans here at home I can’t support $40 billion of new spending unless it’s offset with cuts or taken from already authorized funds, especially when the European Union isn’t matching what we’re doing to end this conflict in their own backyard,” Braun, who voted against the legislation, said in a statement this week.

“I am fully in support of Ukraine and its efforts to push back on Russian aggression. I am, however, concerned about this particular request. President Biden requested $33 billion, yet we are voting on a $40 billion package. It’s important to give Ukraine the support they need, but we also need to be pragmatic about the amount of money we are spending,” Lummis, who also voted against the bill, said in a statement.

In contrast, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), contended that America needs to send Ukraine the tens of billions of dollars in aid to “stand with the freedom-loving people of Ukraine.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said, “America is by nature a noninterventionist nation. However, America has historically been the arsenal of democracy and stood up for freedom when very few would.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK)) said, “Let’s be clear: Supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia puts U.S. security interests first. We also need to be clear that for the last 17 months, @POTUS could have done much more to deter Russia & much less to appease Putin.”

The Ukraine aid package also passed through the House with overwhelming Democrat and Republican support, although 57 Republicans voted against the legislation.

A break down of the spending for the Ukraine aid package, which includes $20 billion for the Department of Defense:

— $17 billion for U.S. military operations, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and to replace U.S. military equipment sent to Ukraine;
— $1.8 billion in U.S. military equipment for Ukraine;
— $414 million for “research, development, test and evaluation” related to the Ukraine war;
— $15 million for U.S. troop pay related to the war; and
— $13.9 million for the Defense Health Program.

Roughly $20 billion was for Ukraine, the State Department, international organizations, and other agencies, including:

— $8.77 billion in economic assistance for Ukraine;
— $4.35 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukraine;
— $4 billion for foreign military financing program (run by the State Department);
— $900 million for the Administration for Children and Families for refugee and entrant assistance;
— $500 million for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;
— $400 million for international narcotics control and law enforcement to combat human trafficking and collect evidence of war crimes;
— $350 million for the State Department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance;
— $190 million for the State Department for “Diplomatic Programs”;
— $150 million for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program;
— $110 million for the State Department for embassy security, construction, and maintenance;
— $100 million for the State Department for nonproliferation, anti-terrorism, de-mining and related programs;
— $67 million for the Justice Department;
— $54 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out public health and disease detection related to Ukraine;
— $17 million for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
— $10 million for the State Department’s “Capital Investment Fund”;
— $4 million for the State Department’s Office of Inspector General;
— $2 million for “salaries and expenses” to provide regulatory and technical support; and
— $1 million for USAID’s Office of Inspector General.

The legislation goes to President Joe Biden’s desk to sign.✪

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