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Rand Paul Blocks $40B Ukraine Bill, Explains Why

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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr


In remarks on the Senate floor Thursday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke about why he was blocking a $40 billion Ukraine bill. Do watch and read his complete speech below:


 


On the Senate floor, Rand Paul said:

Reserving the right to object. 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. 

We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. Economy. In march inflation hit a 40-year high, gasoline alone is up 48 percent and energy prices are up 32 percent from the last year. Food prices have increased by nearly nine percent, used vehicle prices are up 35 percent for the year and new vehicle prices have increased 12% or more. 

Yes inflation doesn't just come out of nowhere, it comes from deficit spending. The United States spent nearly five trillion dollars 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.

This Ukraine bill under consideration would spend 40 billion dollars. This is the second spending bill for Ukraine in two months, and this bill is three times larger than the first. Our military aid to Ukraine is nothing new, though since 2014 the United States has provided more than six billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine. In addition to the 14 billion dollars, Congress authorized just a month ago, if this bill passes the U.S. will have authorized roughly 60 billion dollars in total spending for Ukraine. For those who say this is not enough, for those of you in this chamber who say that our military spending is never enough let's put 60 billion dollars into perspective.

According to Elias Youssef security assistance at the Stimson Center, Kyiv would become the largest yearly recipient of U.S. military aid of the past two decades. Except for the top five countries, 60 billion dollars is more than every other country in the world spends on their entire military expenditures. 

If this gift of Ukraine passes our total aid to Ukraine will almost equal the entire military budget of Russia and it's not as if we have that money lying around, we will have to borrow that money from China to send it to Ukraine. The cost of this package we were voting on today is more than the U.S. spent during the first year of the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan.

Congress authorized force and the President sent troops into the conflict the same cannot be said of Ukraine. This proposal towers over domestic priorities as well the massive package of 60 billion dollars to Ukraine dwarfs the 6 million spent on cancer research annually. 

60 billion is more than the amount the government collects in gas taxes each year to build roads and bridges. The 60 billion dollars to Ukraine could fund substantial portions or entire large cabinet departments, the 60 billion dollars nearly equals the entire state department budget, the 60 billion exceeds the budget for the Department of Homeland Security and for the Department of Energy, and Congress just wants to keep on spending and spending.

Our allies and partners have sent aid to Ukraine, some of them even broke long-standing traditions by sending military assistance. Germany, Poland the United Kingdom, and others are stepping up to defend Ukraine like never before. In other words, it's not all about us, it isn't that we always have to be the uncle Sam the policeman that saves the world particularly when it's on borrowed money. Yet the United States accounted for nearly half of what's been spent so far.

With a 30 trillion dollar debt, America can't afford to be the world's policeman. The U.S. is trying to recover from the 1.6 trillion we spent on wars in the middle east, not to mention the 5 trillion borrowed for COVID, we should not forget that the Soviet Union collapsed in large part not because it was defeated militarily, but because it ran out of money.

In an attempt to save Ukraine, we will doom or will we doom the United States to such a future. In the past two years, the U.S. has borrowed more money than in our history. We are already experiencing the greatest rate of inflation in over four decades. 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 continuing down this path. The biggest threat to the United States of the day is debt and inflation and the dollar's destruction.

We cannot save Ukraine by killing our economic stress or economic strength, So I have to modify the bill to allow 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. So, therefore I asked the senator to modify his request so that the senate proceeds to the immediate consideration of calendar 368-HR 7691. Furthermore that the Paul Amendment the desk be considered and agreed to the bill as amended be considered a third time, and the Senate vote on passage of the bill as amended with this with a 60 affirmative vote threshold for passage. 

After Sen. Paul's Speech, Chuck Schumer replied and said:
Reserving the right to object. It's clear from the junior Senator from Kentucky's remarks he doesn't want to aid Ukraine, but that is not the case for the overwhelming majority here. Again all he will accomplish with his actions here today is to delay that aid not to stop it it's desperately needed by a valiant people fighting against authoritarianism and defending democracy so I will not modify it, Schumer added in his remarks.

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