$40B Ukraine aid package suffers setback in Senate amid transparency concerns

President Biden’s push to pass an emergency military and humanitarian aid package to Ukraine was divided in the Senate on Thursday.

Sen. Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, declined to agree to speed up consideration of the bill, citing concerns about a lack of oversight and transparency about how the funds are being used.

“I think a lot [senators] “They tend to have the inspector general help monitor the money to make sure it hasn’t been stolen,” Mr Paul said. “This really needs to be part of the bill.”

In particular, Mr. Paul asked Senate Democrats to agree to a vote on an amendment that would create a special inspector general to oversee aid payments to Ukraine. Supporters say the amendment should be passed by a simple majority.

“I really want to help the people of Ukraine, and I think they’re fighting for all freedom-loving Americans,” said Sen. John F. Kennedy, Republican of Louisiana. “But it’s taxpayer hard-earned money.”

Despite drafting amendments to create an inspector general, Mr Kennedy disagreed with Mr Paul’s refusal to expedite consideration of the package. Instead, he said there were other ways to ensure transparency without delaying aid.

“I don’t want to do anything that will stop the flow of this much-needed aid,” Mr. Kennedy said. “I’d rather have it as a separate article than have to go back to an amendment approved by the House.

However, Mr Paul said he was unwilling to compromise.

“It just needs to be in the bill, a commitment like that is a bit vague here for other bills,” he said.

With more than 10 Republicans willing to vote with all 50 Senate Democrats to break the filibuster on the measure, Mr. Paul doesn’t have enough support to end the bill without passing amendments to create inspectors.

Instead, the liberal-leaning lawmaker is using a series of legislative processes to delay consideration of the package.

Within the Senate, unanimous consent is required to expedite consideration of the bill, meaning all 100 senators must agree to move forward.

Generally, Senate leaders negotiate the number of amendments and the time allotted for debate before obtaining unanimous consent. If even one lawmaker objected, the process would be put on hold and normal order had to be followed.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer has argued that allowing a vote on the amendment is not the best option given that the House has already passed the aid bill.

“We have a moral obligation to act and act quickly,” the New York Democrat said. “The House of Representatives has passed the Ukraine package with overwhelming bipartisan support. It should be no different here in the Senate.”



Source link