The U.S. Senate has taken another step towards advancing the $40 billion aid package to Ukraine through one of its procedural votes.
Although Republican leader Mitch McConnell assures that the law will be passed as early as Wednesday, May 18, judging by the reports of Western media, the process may be delayed, and the law may again end up in the House of Representatives.
Bureaucratic confusion in Senate
After Republican Rand Paul blocked a fast track vote, the Senate was forced to pass a $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine in full.
It is worth noting here that understanding how the full procedure works is not so simple. In order to speed it up a little, on Monday, the legislators decided that it was necessary to limit the debate to 30 hours.
The first procedural vote on May 16 showed 81 votes in favor of the draft and 11 — against it. Now the question is that by Wednesday, May 18, not a single amendment has been made to the draft, and all 100 senators have agreed on cloture of debate.
But even in the case of an attempt to block the process with amendments, as can be understood from the reports of the American media, senators will still be able to hold a "multiple" vote and advance the law.
"The procedural vote sets up Senate passage of the legislation as soon as Wednesday if all lawmakers consent to waive rules on debate. That would send it to President Joe Biden for his signature if no changes are made," Bloomberg reports.
How many procedural votes there will be, the opinions of the media also differ, but there may still be at least two of them or a "series".
Also, while McConnell is talking about Wednesday, the final vote was scheduled for the end of the week. Paul, who opposes the package, believes it will be held on Thursday, May 19.
Only after all the procedures in the Senate will the law finally go to President Joe Biden for signature, and this may not even be in the coming days. The latter warned last week that the money to support Ukraine had almost run out.
Therefore, in fact, we have the following situation: the historical Lend-Lease Act has been adopted, but the U.S. President does not have the money to supply Ukraine with serious weapons in the most difficult period of the battle for Donbas and the Black Sea.
Isolationism or nationalism
The first one to speak out against a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine was Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is called a pro-Russian politician. He proposed appointing an Afghan inspector to oversee the use of the aid package by the Ukrainians.
It's interesting that the bill already provides for payment for the inspectors’ work, so Paul's demarche was rather political.
Now, during the latest procedural vote, a list of Republican senators has formed who criticize such a large amount of aid for Ukraine amid the U.S.'s own problems.
Here are their names:
- Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee
- John Boozman of Arkansas
- Mike Brown of Indiana
- Mike Crapo of Idaho
- Bill Hagerty of Tennessee
- Josh Hawley of Missouri
- Mike Lee of Utah
- Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming
- Roger Marshall of Kansas
- Rand Paul of Kentucky
- Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.
Another eight senators were not present during the voting. Let us recall here that although the law easily passed the House of Representatives (where unanimity is not required, so 368 votes against 57 were enough), all the "against" votes were also from the Republicans.
"There have always been isolationist voices in the Republican Party," said McConnell, who visited Kyiv on Sunday.
It won't stop the Senate from doing its job, Bloomberg quotes Senate Republican leader.
"I think one of the lessons we learned in World War II is not standing up to aggression early is a huge mistake. We will get the job done," he stressed.
At the same time, Senator Josh Hawley stressed on Twitter that this is not isolationism.
"That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests," he wrote.
According to Hawley, spending $40 billion to help Ukraine — more than three times what all of Europe spent combined — is not in America's interests.
In addition, such assistance will be left without meaningful oversight, the legislator complained.
Arguments about "baby formula"
Why did some Republicans decide to block or, at least, delay the process of helping Ukraine?
Before the vote on Monday, several well-known Republicans, including former U.S. President Donald Trump, questioned such a large sum as $40 billion for Ukraine, The Hill reports.
In particular, the politician who once admired Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. Congress for trying to give so much money to Kyiv at a time when the United States has problems with are having trouble finding baby formula on store shelves due to a shortage of supplies
"The Democrats are sending another $40 billion to Ukraine, yet America’s parents are struggling to even feed their children."
His party colleague, Senator Bill Hagerty, also said that the best thing President Biden could do is stop "the war he is waging on American industry." At the same time, he assured that he had nothing against the Ukrainians:
"We want to see them win, but pumping more aid into that country when we’re not taking care of our own country… I know that there are other senators that are thinking very hard about this right now."
When Ukraine to get aid
Most likely, Joe Biden will not get much-needed money for the supply of weapons and humanitarian aid to warring Ukraine until next week.
This, of course, if the President of the United States does not decide to wait for some other significant date, as with Lend-Lease and May 9, in order to sign the law live and with a loud round of applause.
One thing is clear: the aid draft may be passed, and one way or another, the aid will come. The only question is that each day of delay of the bureaucratic machine of the most developed democracy means lost lives and dragging out hostilities.
Consequently, this is also a delay in rebuilding the territories destroyed by the invadres, in reviving the economy, and bringing back workers to Ukraine that will recover for years from the invasion of a terrorist state.
Although the U.S. is showing a decidedly tougher stance on Europe that is still worried from time to time about "saving Putin's face," the Republican-Democratic ratings battle before November's election appears to have clouded reality a bit.
It's not about baby formula from stores, which, of course, are important, but about missiles that wipe whole families with children from the face of the earth with one strike. And also about a chance to save the defenders of Mariupol from Azovstal, which cannot be done without long-range artillery and aircraft.
Of course, this is not so painfully felt from across the pond, but it is difficult for Ukrainians, who monitor air raid alerts on a daily basis, that these are the laws and procedures that exist in the United States.
- Previously, we reported that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had been offered to surrender the sovereignty of Ukraine in order to "save Putin's face."
- In addition, published the main theses from an interview with the President of Ukraine on Italian television: about saving people from Azovstal, Macron’s diplomatic "pas", and that the Kremlin bloodthirsty leader should save Russia and not think about himself.