Rand Paul Explains Why He Single-Handedly Blocked $40Bn Ukraine Aid

Senator Rand Paul single-handedly blocked the passage of a new aid package to Ukraine worth around $40 billion on Thursday, as he insisted an inspector general oversee U.S. spending in the country as it fights a Russian invasion.

The Kentucky Republican said that Ukraine could not be saved by "dooming the U.S. economy" and cited high gas prices, food prices and inflation generally during remarks on the Senate floor.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had agreed a plan that would see a vote on the aid package on Thursday as well as an amendment from Paul that would expand the powers of the inspector general for Afghanistan to include Ukraine.

Paul objected to proceeding with the plan because he wants the current legislation altered to include his language about the inspector general rather than voting on it as an amendment.

Rand Paul Questions Anthony Fauci
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) questions Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on January 11, 2022. Paul has single-handedly delayed a new aid package for Ukraine. Greg Nash / POOL / AFP/Getty Images

His decision to refuse unanimous consent will delay passage of the aid package possibly into the middle of next week.

"My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation and no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America," Paul said.

"We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy," he said, citing inflation as well as the cost of gas, vehicles and food.

The annualized rate of inflation was 8.3 percent in April, sitting at a near 40-year high.

"Yes, inflation doesn't just come out of nowhere," Paul went on. "It comes from deficit spending. The United States spent nearly $5 trillion on COVID-19 bailouts, leading to one of the highest and most sustained levels of inflation in U.S. history."

"Americans are feeling the pain, and Congress seems intent only on adding to that pain by shoveling more money out the door as fast as they can," he said.

Paul pointed out that this package would be the second bill to provide aid to Ukraine this year. In March, Congress approved $13.6 billion in funding and Paul also cited previous funding for Ukraine as well as the cost of COVID-19 spending and money spent on the wars in the Middle East.

He also noted that U.S. allies were providing aid to Ukraine.

"We are already experiencing the greatest rate of inflation in four decades," Paul said. "The assault on monetary discipline is untenable and it cannot go on forever. Unless we put an end to the fiscal insanity, a day of reckoning awaits us."

"Congress should evaluate the cost of going down this path," the senator said, adding: "We cannot save Ukraine by killing our economic strength. So I act to modify the bill to allow a for a special inspector general. This would be the inspector general that's been overseeing the waste in Afghanistan and has done a great job."

Schumer refused to modify the legislation and the Senate will hold a procedural vote on Monday in hopes of advancing the package.

The aid package passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday by a vote of 368 to 57 and Schumer and McConnell were hoping for a relatively quick passage in the Senate.

Newsweek has asked Senator Rand Paul's office for comment.