Josh Hawley leads handful of Republican senators opposed to aid to Ukraine

Missouri senator says European countries should be contributing more

Eric Garcia
Wednesday 18 May 2022 20:14
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‘My son got sick in the bomb shelter’, Ukrainian mother tells Independent TV

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri and a handful of other Republican senators voiced opposition to a $40bn aid package to Ukraine, despite support from Republican leadership.

On Monday, Mr Hawley and 10 other Republican senators voted against invoking cloture to begin debate on the Ukraine aid package, despite the fact Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell supported it.

Mr Hawley said that his biggest problem is that the United States has spent more than all of Europe has spent combined, when he said that other countries could afford to contribute more.

“Germany is one of the wealthiest nations in the world, they have struggled to spend 2 per cent of their GDP,” he told reporters, referring to the fact that Nato countries must spend two per cent of their GDP on defence. When asked by reporters what he would support, he said “less.”

“I think that providing select armaments to Ukraine defensively, I’m fine with that,” he said. But he added that this was the third time Congress passed something on Ukraine relief and said that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Congress that it was not the end.

Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama also voted against invoking cloture, saying that while he supported aiding Ukraine, he wanted to see the aid staggered out.

“All for Ukraine, I don’t think we should be giving them that much money at one time,” he told The Independent. “Give a little at a time. We’re going to have to turn around and do it again here before long. Because once the money’s out there, for some reason, it disappears very quickly.”

Mr Tuberville said that he wanted to make sure the United States knew where the money for Ukraine went.

“And $40bn is a lot at one time,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to keep count of a fifth of that at one time.”

Most Republicans voted to invoke cloture to begin debate on the Ukraine aid package. Mr McConnell urged President Joe Biden to make the Ukraine aid legislation separate from any Covid-19 relief legislation.

But Senator Rand Paul, the junior Republican from Mr McConnell’s state of Kentucky, blocked unanimous consent on the legislation last week, thereby delaying the legislation untol this week.

This also came after 57 Republicans in the House voted against the legislation last week, including members of the more isolationist pro-Trump wing of the GOP such as Representatives Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

“Number one, is just the price tag is too much right now,” Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas said, adding that he did not the war to be Russia versus the United States and that the United States has 100,000 troops on Nato frontlines. “The bigger issue to folks back home is the open Southern border and inflation.”

He said it would cost less to secure the Southern border.

“So I think that’s a bigger priority and I think that’s what Kansans would prefer we spend the money on,” he said.

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