Almost 80 Senators Vote Down Rand Paul Amid Debate Over Ukraine Support

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In a recent vote, nearly the entire U.S. Senate rejected a proposal from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that one opponent argued could muddle the work of officials currently in place who are tasked with oversight at major federal departments like those of State and Defense. With the support of three-fifths of the Senate having been needed, Paul’s proposal only received 20 votes in favor, with 78 Senators instead registering their opposition.

Paul wanted the establishment of a new series of investigations into the administration of aid that the U.S. has given to Ukraine amid its war with Russia after the extensive invasion that Vladimir Putin’s forces launched last year. In remarks on the Senate floor, Paul questioned the rate at which currently active oversight officials have found instances of the purported misuse of U.S. aid, insisting there must be more than these figures were finding.

“The United States sent $113 billion in aid to Ukraine,” Paul argued in the Senate. “It is impossible to send this much aid this fast into war-torn Ukraine without waste, fraud, and abuse. Yet we are told by the departmental inspectors general that they have not substantiated any cases of fraud. That is not good news. Zero cases mean our oversight is failing.”

Speaking in opposition during the brief back-and-forth in the Senate was Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), who while supportive of ensuring robust oversight of federal spending was concerned with the potential diversion of resources from the figures across government already doing the work. “While I certainly support the goals of this amendment, I have concerns this provision could ultimately interfere with and divert resources from the inspectors general at the State Department, the Defense Department, and USAID who are already overseeing American support to Ukraine,” the Michigander argued to his colleagues.

Giving aid to Ukraine at all has been a frequent point of serious contention for Republicans of Paul’s general political persuasion. In the House, proposals targeting such aid, including one from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that would have blocked further security assistance for the country from the U.S., repeatedly failed.