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Ukraine funding bill: These 11 Republican senators split from party leadership, opposed $40 billion in aid

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In a split with party leaders, 11 Senate Republicans Thursday voted against a bill to send $40 billion in military aid to Ukraine as Russia's invasion of the nation nears its fourth month. 

Despite some GOP opposition, the bill passed by a final tally of 86-11, with the support of leadership from both parties and a significant majority of Republican senators. It will now go to President Biden's desk. 

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., led the opposition to the bill, demanding an inspector general be appointed to oversee the spending. The U.S. total financial commitment to the Russian war on Ukraine will now total nearly $54 billion. 

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., arrives for a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Jan. 11, 2022, at Capitol Hill in Washington. (GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


Paul was joined voting against the bill Thursday by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., John Boozman, R-Ark., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. 

All of those Republicans voted "no" in previous procedural votes to advance the bill. No Democrats voted against the legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who visited Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy over the weekend, pushed for the Senate to pass the bill since last week. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pose for a photo in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday, May 14. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

"Today, the Senate will approve more lethal assistance for Ukraine. And it's going to be a bipartisan landslide," McConnell said Thursday ahead of the vote. "Anyone concerned about the cost of supporting a Ukrainian victory should consider the much larger costs should Ukraine lose."


But the senators opposing the bill gave differing reasons for why, including opposition to the general policy and concern about a lack of oversight. 

"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."

"I'm not against the why, I'm against the how we're doing it," Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., said Thursday. "I'm all for giving them, you know, money every month for a while. But when you take money like we're doing, $40 billion and just throwing it out there, how do you keep up with it?"

Senator Mike Braun, R-IN, questions FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies hearing June 23, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Sarah Silbiger-Pool/Getty Images)

"Underlying policy, I'm okay with," Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., said outside the Senate floor Thursday. "If we had actually paid for it and not borrowed the money… and when we're spending money over there, we ought to be asking the EU to match it dollar for dollar."

Braun said that he "probably" would have voted for the Ukraine aid if there was a deal to pay for it and if the U.S. convinced the European Union increase its commitment to Ukraine's defense. 


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks to the media after a Democratic policy luncheon, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., meanwhile, said he shared concerns of senators like Tuberville on fiscal responsibility. But the war in Ukraine is just too important, he said. 

"We would have paid for this, we could have done it easily, we should have done that. And quite honestly we should have included Rand Paul's amendment to get the special investigator in Afghanistan on the case right away to review this," Johnson said. "But the fact that we need to replenish our stocks, so that's about $10 billion at least in terms of spending on that. And we simply cannot tolerate or reward Putin's naked aggression here, you know - the atrocities, the war crimes." 

Johnson added: "I know it's a third of the world away but I'm not going to let perfect be the enemy of what is necessary."

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, also noted that some of the money is going to the U.S. military. 

"At least 25% directly to the military in the United States, some to strengthen our forces in Europe. And then a good deal of it is humanitarian," he said. "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."

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during the Council of Lawmakers at the Tauride Palace, on April 27, 2022, in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Putin has arrived in Saint Petersburg to attend an annual meeting of regional parliamentary speakers, State Duma and Council of the Federation representatives. (Contributor/Getty Images)

Paul, meanwhile, complained about the fact the bill isn't paid for at a time Americans are struggling with inflation. 


"Those senators who voted to gift $40 billion to Ukraine argue that it is in our national security interest," Paul said on the Senate floor after the vote. "I wonder if Americans across our country would agree if they had been shown the costs, if they had been asked to pay for it." 

Paul added: "By my calculation, each income taxpayer in our country would need to pay $500 to support this $40 billion, which by some accounts is a down payment and will need to be replenished in about four months."

Democrats, meanwhile, are railing against Republicans for the fact they delayed the Ukraine funding bill by a full week. "Senator Paul's obstruction of Ukraine funding is totally unacceptable, and only serves to strengthen Putin's hand in the long run," Schumer said this week. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Tyler Olson covers politics for Fox News Digital. You can contact him at tyler.olson@fox.com and follow him on Twitter at @TylerOlson1791.

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