Skip to comments.OP-ED: The Federal Government Should Not Be Held Hostage for Ukraine Funding
Posted on 09/22/2023 10:47:23 AM PDT by RandFan
By Rand Paul
Today I am putting leadership of the House, the Senate, and the President of the United States on notice. I will not consent to the expedited passage of any spending measure providing more American aid to Ukraine.
Simply put: We have no extra money to send to Ukraine. Our deficit this year will exceed $1.5 trillion. Borrowing money from China to send to Ukraine makes no sense.
Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the American taxpayer has provided Kiev $113 billion. Over the 583 days of war between February 24, 2022 and the end of this month, that average will come to $6.8 billion per month—or $223 million per day.
This week, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Washington to lobby Congress to approve the Biden administration’s $24 billion supplemental aid request.
When will the aid requests end? When will the war end? Can someone explain what victory in Ukraine looks like? President Biden certainly can’t. His administration has failed to articulate a clear strategy or objective in this war, and Ukraine’s long-awaited counter-offensive has failed to make meaningful gains in the east.
With no clear end in sight, it looks increasingly likely that Ukraine will be yet another endless quagmire funded by the American taxpayer. That’s why public support for the war is waning. A CNN poll from August shows that a majority of Americans now oppose Congress authorizing additional funding to Ukraine.
The Senate leadership of both parties know this. That’s why they are trying to hold the federal government hostage by inserting the $24 billion aid request in a continuing resolution: to force our hand. Either we fund an endless war in Ukraine or the uniparty will shut down the federal government and make the American people suffer.
This is a clear dereliction of duty, and I will not stand for it. My colleagues: As representatives of the American people, you should not stand for it. The bill that comes before us should be about funding our own government, not anyone else’s. I will do everything in my power to block a bill that includes funding for Ukraine.
As elected officials, we have an obligation to pursue a foreign policy that advances the security and prosperity of the American people. Funneling billions of dollars into the meatgrinder in eastern Ukraine does neither.
The longer this conflict continues, the greater the risk that miscalculation or purposeful escalation draws the United States into direct conflict with Russia. Russia’s military may have a bloody nose, but Moscow still maintains the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Let’s not pretend that American involvement in this war comes without risks.
If that’s not bad enough, Senate leadership has prevented the implementation of effective oversight mechanisms to ensure that hard-earned American tax dollars don’t fall prey to waste, fraud, and abuse. As a result, besides the colossal costs of the war, we will end up paying a corruption tax.
Unfortunately, corruption runs deep in Ukraine, and there’s plenty of evidence that it has run rampant since Russia’s invasion. As Zelensky landed in New York earlier this week, we learned that corruption concerns in Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense resulted in the firing of six deputy defense ministers. This comes two weeks after the firing of Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov, who was removed after it was discovered that the Ministry of Defense had mishandled military contracts.
Last month, Zelensky fired all twenty-four regional military recruitment chiefs because they were “involved in illegal activities, including enrichment.”
Last October, we learned that U.S. shipments of grenade launchers, machine guns, rifles, bulletproof vests, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, were ending up in the hands of criminal gangs and weapons traffickers posing as humanitarian aid organizations.
What are we doing? Is this fair to the American people? Millions of Americans are struggling each day to make ends meet. Millions of Americans are struggling to provide for their families and put food on the table. Can we honestly look our constituents in the eye and tell them that this is a good investment of their tax dollars?
Some say it’s to save democracy. They should be honest with themselves and the rest of us. Ukraine is far from a shining example of democracy. While the strain of wartime can make for questionable government actions, we must approach these cases with a critical eye; after all, we have to live with them when or if the war is ever over. As if to prove a point, for all the platitudes about America supporting democracy, Ukraine, the biggest recipient of American welfare, has canceled the nation’s next presidential election.
At the end of the day, this isn’t about what Ukraine is or isn’t with respect to its form of government. This is all about our interests and our national security. Every day this war continues is another spin of the roulette wheel with another chance of it stopping on Armageddon. And we are paying for the privilege. We cannot continue business as usual. We cannot keep putting the needs of other countries above our own. We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the American economy. And we certainly cannot save Ukraine by fighting a war with Russia.
No matter how sympathetic we are to the Ukrainian people, my oath of office requires me to put the American people first. I encourage my colleagues to oppose any effort to hold the federal government hostage for Ukraine funding.
Rand Paul serves as the junior United States senator from Kentucky.
Very nicely said.
I wonder if the Ukes have added Rand to their kill list now.ll
Which usually is an indicator that its not just politicians with their hands in the cookie jar, but other government apparatus (Truman's great regret I'll bet) that must have a large interest there.
That should be spread far and wide. It is fully the truth.
if there is a government shutdown, we should be honest and call it the “Ukraine spending shutdown”
the media will want to blame a group of politicians for it, but this is the issue that separates the two sides.
Zelensky’s mixed reception in Washington may be a taste of political storm to come
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN
Updated Thu September 21, 2023
The blue-and-gold flag draped hero worship of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s last Washington trip, which stirred comparisons to Winston Churchill’s wartime stand against Nazism, was a distant memory on Thursday.
Nine months later, Zelensky was back in town and he and his hosts learned some jarring lessons about one another at a moment when a path to ultimate victory in the war against Russia seems increasingly distant.
Zelensky got an abrupt preview of how Donald Trump’s possible return to power after the 2024 election and how the ex-president’s current sway over the ungovernable Republican-led House of Representatives could rupture the multi-billion dollar lifeline on which Ukraine’s survival depends.
And far from clearing a new $24 billion administration request to sustain Ukraine’s war effort, the chaotic House failed again Thursday to even fund the defense of the United States, as a new attempt to pass a military appropriations bill foundered against hard-right opposition.
For their part, Americans glimpsed the sapping impact of a brutal war on a leader who rallied stunning resistance to a Russian invasion but also shoulders the burden of months of death and sacrifice forced upon his people. At times, the comic actor turned wartime hero looked exhausted and unsmiling. In a CNN interview, he confessed the personal strain of his furtive life as Russia’s top target.
And in public appearances, Zelensky’s patience sometimes frayed – especially when berating the United Nations for failing to protect its members from aggression. In a US capital that has undergone an ideological shift since he was last here just before Christmas 2022, it now takes more than quoting President Franklin Roosevelt and drawing allusions to 9/11, to woo lawmakers.
There’s also a question of whether Zelensky’s relentless efforts to shame the world into action might be reaching the point of diminishing returns. The pugnacious president might think so too judging by his multiple and poignant expressions of gratitude for previous help as polls show more Americans are skeptical of aid to Ukraine.
He may need to develop new political skills to adapt to a vicious phase in American politics when Ukraine is being dragged into an impeachment saga for the second time and is a central general election issue.
Zelensky’s trip to the United States – whose democracy, while battered, is still a bulwark of free political systems around the world – was a mirror image of another journey made by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week to restock his own arsenal in a meeting with North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un in Russia’s Far East.
A warm welcome in the Oval Office
Biden did his best to assure Zelensky of US constancy.
“Mr. President, the brave people in Ukraine, and that’s not hyperbole, the people of Ukraine have shown an enormous bravery, enormous bravery,” Biden told Zelensky in the Oval Office. “Together with our partners and allies, the American people are determined to see to all we can to ensure the world stands with you.”
Zelensky profusely thanked Biden for America’s support to “combat Russian terrorism.” And he also thanked the people of Poland after the government in Warsaw said it would stop arming Ukraine after a dispute over Ukrainian grain imports.
Analysts in the US and Ukraine said the move was bound up in political tensions ahead of Poland’s approaching election, and probably didn’t augur a long-term rupture between the allies.
Biden unveiled yet another US aid package for Ukraine worth $325 million that was expected to include more cluster munitions and air defense equipment, according to two US officials, marking the second time the US has provided the controversial weapon to Kyiv.
“I’m amazed at what’s going on. Ukraine funding appears sacrosanct even above the needs of the people!”
Nonsense!!! Why are so-called “Conservatives” so zealously willing to stop a staop gap funding measure over moeny for Ukraine possibly in it, and extremely less willing to prevent a stop gap funding measure than continues most of Biden’s $trillions in extra and totally unnecessay spending. In terms of sheer dollars and what is really wrong in the federal spending Biden’s programs and spending are a much more egregious issue than the funding for Ukraine. Focusing on Ukraine more than Biden’s overall spending is a populist diversion, not the ultimate national importance.
“And I'll put $10 billion in an offshore account for you, Joe, just like Hunter told me to.”
Actually it is true. But Ukraine funding is obvious to all people and shows the hypocrisy of the elitists.
Quit overthinking this.
“But Ukraine funding is obvious to all people and shows the hypocrisy of the elitists.”
Bidens multi$trllions in spending shows the “hypocrisy of the elitists” far more obviously and far more massively. Ant-Ukraine defense is merely more populist at the moment, and many populists have managed to get themselves elected as “Conservatives”.
Anyone think Ukraine is blackmailing Biden after bribing him?
Please we need this war to stop.
The Ukrainiacs don’t care.
Rand Paul for VP 2024.
“Ant-Ukraine defense is merely more populist at the moment, and many populists have managed to get themselves elected as “Conservatives”.
You use the term “populist” as if it’s a bad thing.
Please contrast the tenets of populism with the tenets of conservatism and edify all of us rubes.
“Please we need this war to stop.”
Simple - tell Putin to stop it.
Go educate yourself on your own time.
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