Josh Hawley, Roger Marshall oppose $40 billion aid package for Ukraine

·5 min read

Sens. Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall will vote against a package providing an additional $40 billion in aid to Ukraine as the country has turned the tide in pushing back Russia’s invasion.

Hawley, a Missouri Republican, and Marshall, a Kansas Republican, have joined a small group of Republicans in the Senate who are pushing back against the spending, saying the money would be better spent in America than aiding the war effort in Europe. They joined nine other Republicans in voting against a procedural motion to move the bill forward Monday evening.

“Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid - more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined - is not in America’s interests,” Hawley said on Twitter. “It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight. That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests.”

Hawley previously clashed with the Biden administration over its support for Ukraine joining NATO.

The bill is expected to pass by the end of the week. It was originally delayed last week by Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, who has often criticized the amount of money the United States spends on foreign aid.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said most of the senators support passing the legislation, saying it was a moral obligation to pass “desperately needed” aid to the country.

“His obstruction will not prevent Ukraine aid from passing the Senate,” Schumer said Monday. “One way or another we’re going to get this done and send a clear message to Ukraine and the world that America stands on the side of democracy and against Putin’s deeply immoral campaign of violence.”

Republican Sens. Jerry Moran, of Kansas, and Roy Blunt, of Missouri, both voted in support of the package.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, traveled to Kyiv this past weekend alongside Sen. Susan Collins, Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Wyoming Sen. John Barasso— all Republicans — to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. McConnell has stressed his desire to quickly pass a bill that would help the country as the Russians have changed course and focused on capturing a southeastern region in the country.

“America’s support for Ukraine’s self-defense is not mere philanthropy,” McConnell said Saturday. “Defending the principle of sovereignty, promoting stability in Europe, and imposing costs on Russia’s naked aggression have a direct and vital bearing on America’s national security and vital interests. It is squarely in our national interest to help Ukraine achieve victory in this war and to help Ukraine and other countries deter other wars of aggression before they start.”

The package is more than the $33 billion Biden requested and well beyond the $13 billion Congress gave to Ukraine earlier this year.

It allows the U.S. to give Ukraine $11 billion in weapons from its stockpile and gives the military at least $9 billion to buy new weapons to make up for the ones they have given Ukraine. It also contains $4 billion for “international disaster assistance,” which includes emergency food and shelter, and $8.7 billion for an “economic support fund,” which includes money to combat human trafficking in the region.

But some Republicans in Congress have pushed back on the spending. While the bill passed the House of Representatives easily last week, 57 Republicans voted against the bill. Among them were Missouri Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, who are both running for U.S. Senate, and Kansas Reps. Tracey Mann and Ron Estes.

“We should support the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom while also making sure we spend taxpayer funds with accountability,” Estes said. “Democrats’ recent bill was 40 billion taxpayer dollars – billions more than the entire U.S. Department of Justice budget. We need reasonable support to Ukraine — not another spending bonanza that will lead to further inflation.”

For months, many members were eager to show their solidarity with Ukraine as it defended itself against a larger Russian military. Members gave Zelenskyy a standing ovation when he addressed them in video message in March and many have worn pins with the Ukrainian flag.

Marshall held a press conference last month to highlight the potential of a global food shortage because of the war in Ukraine, where he invited several Ukrainians to speak. All of them made passionate requests for the U.S. to give the country more weapons, saying the only way to prevent the food shortage was for Ukraine to win the war.

Asked after the press conference whether he supported giving Ukraine additional money for weapons, Marshall demurred, saying he wanted to make sure the $13 billion Congress had already passed was spent appropriately.

In a statement about his stance on the vote in Ukraine, Marshall reemphasized the point, saying the money meant a “proxy war” with Russia.

“Combined with the original $13.6 billion installment signed into law in March, passage of this bill would bring the total spending on Ukraine this year to $53.6 billion – the largest foreign aid package provided by Congress in more than 20 years,” Marshall said. “All the while, our NATO allies contributions have dropped off significantly, turning this essentially into a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia, there is no long term strategy, and no end in sight to the spending.”

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