Biden signs $40B Ukraine aid bill that was flown to South Korea
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President Biden wasted no time in pushing through the whopping $40 billion aid to Ukraine bill, signing the emergency appropriations bill from South Korea Saturday.
The White House confirmed for Fox News that the bill was flown to the president Friday with someone who was already set to travel to the area as part of Biden’s Asia trip this week.
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The legislation passed through the House and Senate on a largely bipartisan basis in just over a week and was sent to the president’s desk Thursday.
Though the bill was pushed through the lower chamber the same day it was introduced, with just over a quarter of House Republicans voting against the bill in a 368 – 57 vote, there was a nine-day delay before the Senate pushed the aid package through to the president’s desk.
Eleven Senate Republicans broke from party leadership to vote against the bill over spending concerns in an 86-11 vote.
Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul led the opposition and demanded that an inspector general be appointed to oversee the spending.
While some agreed with his oversight concerns, others like Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley said he was against the principle of the bill.
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“I just think this is an exercise in nation-building,” Hawley told Fox News Thursday. “So I’m a nationalist. I’m not in favor of nation-building. I think we ought to be prioritizing American strength.”
Paul and Hawley were joined in their opposition by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., John Boozman, R-Ark., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.
Senate Republicans in favor of the package argued the U.S. would pay a lot more in the fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin if he is able to gain steam in Europe.
Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said that “at least 25 percent [will go] directly to the military in the United States, some to strengthen our forces in Europe. And then a good deal of it is humanitarian.”
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“And if you believe in the rule of law and if you believe that Putin could be on a slippery slope – is he going to stop in Ukraine and is he going to go in Eastern Europe, like they did before? That’s something that’s going to cost a lot more money,” he added.
The U.S. has agreed to supply roughly $54 billion in military and humanitarian aid to counter Putin’s aggression in Ukraine.
Tyler Olsen and the Associated Press contributed to this report.