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Senate Passes $40B Ukraine Aid Package

Senate Passes $40B Ukraine Aid Package

After briefly being held up by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the Senate voted Thursday to pass a nearly $40 billion bill to send aid to Ukraine as the country continues to fight back against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked attacks. The measure passed the House earlier this month and will now go to President Joe Biden to be signed into law. The final tally in the Senate was 86 to 11.

President Biden, who is on his first trip to Asia since taking office, will sign the aid package while he is in South Korea, an official says, with the bill being flown overseas to the President’s location. The legislation provides money for military and humanitarian aid, including funding to assist Ukrainian military and national security forces, help replenish stores of US equipment sent to Ukraine, and provide public health and medical support for Ukrainian refugees.

Sen. Paul, long known for his isolationist and pro-Russia views, had failed to reach a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) over his demands. Paul wanted language in the bill to create a special inspector general position to oversee all Ukraine spending. He suggested that John F. Sopko, who was a U.S. watchdog for Afghanistan reconstruction over the past decade, could do the job. Schumer proposed holding a vote on an amendment to create the position, but Paul rejected the offer. Ultimately, no new language was added to the House-passed bill, which includes provisions to fund oversight of spending at the Defense and State departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The aid package “is extremely critical; it was critical last week,” said Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who added: “And I cannot believe that some on the Republican side have held it up. Every day it’s delayed, it impacts the war effort.”

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The others who voted no were Sens. 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.

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