- The Senate passed $40 billion in new aid to Ukraine for military equipment and humanitarian assistance.
- But 11 GOP senators — including Josh Hawley, Rand Paul, and Marsha Blackburn — voted against it.
- They say that it’s too much money, isn’t paid for, and doesn’t reflect a “nationalist” foreign policy.
The US Senate passed a bill on Thursday providing $40 billion in military aid and economic support to Ukraine, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk after the House approved the package last week.
The bill includes tens of billions in funding for lethal aid to the Ukrainian military, billions to the State Department to provide economic development aid to the war-torn country, and roughly $4 billion for tackling global food shortages caused by the war.
“Today, the Senate will approve more lethal assistance for Ukraine,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a floor speech on Thursday. “And it’s going to be a bipartisan landslide.”
But passage of the bill had been stalled for a week by fellow Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who insisted that an inspector general be appointed to oversee the aid spending.
But while the aid package passed the chamber with unanimous Democratic support and the backing of most Republicans, 11 Republican senators bucked their party, citing reasons ranging from the cost of the spending, to a lack of oversight into where that money might be spent, to broader concerns about America’s national interest.
“Cost,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming when Insider asked her why she planned to vote against the measure. “I do support Ukraine’s efforts to protect their people, and their country, and it’s just so tragic what’s happening. But inflation is running amok. We are not protecting our own borders.”
“Ukrainians are amazing. We were slow to help them out of the gate,” Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana told Insider. “But I’m gonna always ask a question: how are we paying for it? And when I found out we’re borrowing every penny of it, and we’re not offsetting anything, that turned it into a no vote for me.”
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri argued that the money spent defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion would be better spent at home, telling Fox News that the bill is an extension of the “unfocused globalism that unfortunately many in my party have embraced in the last couple of decades.” He added his opposition to the aid package is “not isolationism,” but “nationalism.”
—Senator Bill Hagerty (@SenatorHagerty) May 17, 2022
When the bill cleared the House last week, it was met with opposition from 57 House Republicans, with many of them making similar arguments.
“We have to stop spending money we don’t have, and as the wealthiest country on the planet this should not be an impossible goal,” Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas wrote in an op-ed last week. “Before adding additional funding to the Ukraine pot, the administration must reasonably reprogram funding that already exists to the issues that are pressing today.”
Despite their own objections to the bill — including the amount of money that the package sends to defense contractors — Democratic support for the bill in the House was also unanimous.
These are the 11 Republican senators who voted against the bill:
- Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri
- Sen. Mike Lee of Utah
- Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana
- Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho
- Sen. Bill Hagerty of Tennessee
- Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
- Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas
- Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas
- Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
- Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
- Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama