Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked a vote on bipartisan legislation to support the people of Ukraine. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:
I am offering this UC on behalf of myself and Leader McConnell. Let me explain the UC.
As the war in Ukraine extends into its third month, we have a moral obligation—a moral obligation—to stand with Ukraine in its fight against Putin’s immoral war.
Earlier this week, the House passed a Ukraine package with overwhelming bipartisan support. It should be no different here in the Senate. The package is ready to go. The vast majority of Senators on both sides of the aisle want it.
There is now one thing holding us back: the junior Senator from Kentucky is preventing swift passage of Ukraine aid because he wants to add—at the last minute—his own changes directly into the bill. His change is strongly opposed by many members from both parties.
He is not even asking for an amendment; he is simply saying “my way or the highway.” When you have a proposal to amend a bill, you can’t just come to the floor and demand it by fiat. You have to convince other members to back it first. That is how the Senate works.
If every member held every bill in exchange for every last little demand, it would mean total and permanent paralysis for this chamber. The junior Senator from Kentucky knows that perfectly well. He knows that’s not how this chamber works.
Again: when you have a proposal to change a bill, you have to convince members to support it. The junior Senator from Kentucky has not done that
So right now, in conjunction with Leader McConnell, I am giving Senator Paul an opportunity to do just that: I am offering to hold a vote on his amendment, even though I disagree with it.
Let the chamber speak its will. Let both sides of the aisle have input. And for heaven’s sake let’s get the Ukraine funding done A-S-A-P.
We must keep our promise to the people of Ukraine and I hope the junior Senator from Kentucky does not stand in the way of keeping that promise.
If Senator Paul persists in his reckless demand, we will not allow him to insert his language into this bill without a vote. And all he will accomplish is to singlehandedly delay desperately-needed Ukraine aid.