This week, Sen. Rand Paul tried to hold up the $40 billion Ukraine aid bill passed by the House and Senate by insisting on an amendment that would include oversight on how these funds were spent.
After all, $40 billion is quite a lot. It’s more than we spend on the entire Justice Department.
Senator @RandPaul is standing up for the American people by asking for oversight and accountability into how taxpayer dollars are spent in support of Ukraine.
For context, $40 billion is more than the entire budget for the Department of Justice. https://t.co/cgmE9vxxsr
— Heritage Action (@Heritage_Action) May 13, 2022
Still, Democratic leadership said no.
Senator @RandPaul Objects To Passage Of $40 Billion Foreign Aid Package To Ukraine Until Financial Oversight Is Included
"My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution, not to any foreign nation."
Schumer Refuses To Modify, Paul Objects pic.twitter.com/HnxUxPCFge
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) May 12, 2022
So, we’re left wondering: Do we have any idea where this money is going? According to independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, while some dollars will go to actual Ukrainian aid, most of it looks like a Military-Industrial Complex slush fund.
“While a small portion of these funds will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine, the vast majority will go into the coffers of weapons manufacturers such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and the usual suspects,” Greenwald writes. “Some of it will go to the CIA for unspecified reasons.”
Greenwald noted, “The extreme speed with which this was all approved means there is little to no oversight over how the funds will be spent, who will profit and how much, and what the effects will be for Ukraine and the world.”
That seems irresponsible. Is Rand Paul the only senator who doesn’t want to give billions recklessly to war manufacturers?
No, luckily Bernie Sanders agrees with him. (Or at least, he used to).
Join me NOW: I urge my colleagues to stop pouring billions of dollars into wars and weapons.
President Eisenhower and Dr. King were right. We need the guts to say NO to the military industrial complex and start focusing on real human needs. https://t.co/6DdSZQJJN1
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) June 30, 2020
Except… this time Sanders voted for this $40 billion in spending. For Raytheon. For Lockheed. For Martin. For Boeing. For the CIA.
This did not go unnoticed on social media.
If Bernie Sanders were half the man I used to think he was – he would be standing shoulder to shoulder with Rand Paul https://t.co/9UM2u9x7na
— Patricia Dowling (@ketchmeifucan) May 13, 2022
Bernie Sanders did not block the 40 billion bill for Ukraine but Rand Paul did. Let that sink in.
— Karlenin (@unleashedMList) May 13, 2022
Not a single Democrat voted against this spending package. Not even the most progressive, typically anti-war voices. No member of the Squad. Not the consistently non-interventionist Ro Khanna.
As Greenwald notes, Sanders understands the complexities of this conflict and the U.S.-NATO role in provoking Russia.
“Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who has thus far said nothing about this House vote, warned in The Guardian in early February, that while Putin is immoral and tyrannical, the West bears some blame for provoking this war with reckless NATO expansion and, more importantly, warned of the grave and unpredictable dangers of having the U.S. pursue a strategy of fueling the war rather than trying to solve it diplomatically,” Greenwald wrote.
Even the New York Times expressed concern that the usual anti-war voices in both parties, with obvious exceptions like Sen. Paul, weren’t saying anything at the moment about this colossal Ukraine spending bill and its ramifications.
After the bill passed the House, the Times noted on May 10, “The escalating brutality of the war in Ukraine has dampened voices on both the right and left skeptical of the United States’ involving itself in armed conflict overseas, fueling a rush by Congress to pour huge amounts of money into a potentially lengthy and costly offensive against Russia with few questions or reservations raised.”
The Times added, “Under pressure to present a united front as President Vladimir V. Putin’s forces carry out a campaign of atrocities across Ukraine, lawmakers in both political parties who have previously railed against skyrocketing military budgets and entanglements in intractable conflicts abroad have gone largely silent about what is fast becoming a major military effort drawing on American resources.” (Emphasis added).
What is going on here? Why was Rand Paul the only senator to raise questions about this bill? And why has Bernie Sanders not said anything at all?
Are anti-war-democrats extinct in DC?
“This is the real story. Not that there’s 57 Republicans who’ve woken up to the folly of what we’re doing in Ukraine, but that there are zero Democrats. Every single one of them is on the wrong side of this.”https://t.co/OGyjboGDUt
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 14, 2022