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US lawmaker vows to slow approval of Ukraine aid

Senator Rand Paul has claimed he will force a drawn-out process to pass emergency funding for Kiev and Israel

US Senator Rand Paul has warned that passage of an emergency funding bill that includes $60 billion for Ukraine aid won’t be a quick and smooth process because he won’t allow his colleagues to avoid a serious debate about prioritizing Kiev’s security over America’s border crisis.

“I think we should stay here as long as it takes,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN on Friday. “If it takes a week or a month, I’ll force them to stay here to discuss why they think the border of Ukraine is more important than the US border.”

Paul’s comments came one day after the aid bill moved a key step toward approval in the Senate by clearing a so-called cloture vote, meaning it can no longer be stalled through a filibuster. However, Paul and other opponents can slow the legislation’s advance toward a final vote by introducing amendments and demanding that they be debated. The bill can only be sped to a vote without further debate if all 100 senators agree to a fast-track procedure.

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File photo: Ukraine's 45th Artillery Brigade fires on Russian positions, January 20, 2024.
Ukraine running out of ammunition – FT

Paul won’t likely let that happen. He has spoken out against prolonging Ukraine’s conflict with Russia and has been a staunch critic of Washington’s foreign military forays. The libertarian senator was one of 19 Republican lawmakers who called last April for a halt to “unrestrained” US aid to Ukraine and urged President Joe Biden to instead push for a diplomatic solution to end the fighting.

The latest aid bill includes $95 billion in emergency spending, including $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion to fund Israel’s war against Hamas, and nearly $5 billion to help deter Chinese “aggression” against Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific partners. If it passes the Senate, it will require approval from the Republican-controlled House of Representatives before going to Biden for final approval.

Seventeen Republicans joined with Senate Democrats in supporting the cloture vote on Thursday. The bill surprisingly gained Republican support after border-security measures were stripped out. GOP negotiators had previously demanded a crackdown on illegal immigration to help overcome opposition to further funding of Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.

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READ MORE: US Senate advances aid bill for Ukraine and Israel

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has suggested that he may prevent lawmakers from leaving Washington for a two-week recess that was scheduled to begin this weekend, saying members will “keep working on this bill until the job is done.”

The Biden administration confirmed last month that it had run out of funding for Kiev after burning through $113 billion in previously approved aid packages. Paul noted earlier this week that in addition to allotting an additional $60 billion in military funding, the latest bill includes $7.85 billion for the “lavish salaries of Ukrainian bureaucrats.”


READ MORE: US senator slams ‘ungrateful’ Ukraine

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February 10, 2024 at 03:43AM
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