Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) announced Wednesday he would not pass any short-term spending package to fund the government that includes additional funding for the Ukrainian war effort, just ten days before the federal government is set to shut down if a deal is not reached.
Congressional leaders are working towards a deal to pass a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded past September 30. However, there’s a debate about whether the continuing resolution will include the additional $24 billion in aid for Ukraine that President Joe Biden is requesting.
Paul wrote an op-ed and spoke about the issue on the Senate floor, declaring the federal government should “not be held hostage for Ukraine funding.”
“Today I’m putting congressional leadership & @POTUS on notice that I will oppose any effort to hold the federal government hostage for Ukraine funding,” Paul wrote online. “I will not consent to expedited passage of any spending measure that provides any more U.S. aid to Ukraine.”
Today I'm putting congressional leadership & @POTUS on notice that I will oppose any effort to hold the federal government hostage for Ukraine funding. I will not consent to expedited passage of any spending measure that provides any more US aid to Ukraine.…
— Rand Paul (@RandPaul) September 20, 2023
The $113 billion in Ukraine aid sent thus far averages to “$6.8 billion per month—or $223 million per day,” as Paul noted in his op-ed.
He is opposed to taxpayers funding “another endless quagmire, and called attempts to include the aid in the continuing resolution a “clear dereliction of duty.”
With no clear end in sight, it looks increasingly likely that Ukraine will be yet another endless quagmire funded by the American taxpayer. That’s why public support for the war is waning. A CNN poll from August shows that a majority of Americans now oppose Congress authorizing additional funding to Ukraine.
The Senate leadership of both parties know this. That’s why they are trying to hold the federal government hostage by inserting the $24 billion aid request in a continuing resolution: to force our hand. Either we fund an endless war in Ukraine or the uniparty will shut down the federal government and make the American people suffer.
This is a clear dereliction of duty, and I will not stand for it. My colleagues: As representatives of the American people, you should not stand for it. The bill that comes before us should be about funding our own government, not anyone else’s. I will do everything in my power to block a bill that includes funding for Ukraine.
Paul also said, “corruption runs deep in Ukraine,” citing news that Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense fired six deputy defense ministers over corruption concerns.
“This comes two weeks after the firing of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who was removed after it was discovered that the Ministry of Defense had mishandled military contracts,” Paul noted.
Paul’s announcement came one day before Senators are set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday morning.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has urged Congress to provide more aid to Ukraine in recent weeks. Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also supports more funding for Ukraine but did not say whether he would attach it to a continuing resolution to fund the government.
“We’d like to work on a bipartisan basis on the CR with the Republicans. We’ve gotten indications that they want to do that. We’ve done it very successfully on the appropriations process and hopefully we can come together bipartisan here as well,” Schumer said Tuesday.
In the GOP-controlled House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also supports increased funding for Ukraine but said he wants it in a standalone bill rather than being attached to a bill that funds the government.