Rand Paul Breaks With GOP in Opposing Quick Response to Russia Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., questions Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra about vaccines during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss reopening schools during COVID-19 at Capitol Hill on in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 30, 2021. (Greg Nash- Pool/Getty Images)
By Jeffrey Rodack | Tuesday, 29 March 2022 08:19 AM
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is delaying a revocation of normal trade relations with Moscow as Russia’s war on Ukraine continues.
According to Politico, the move by Paul is slowing down efforts to cripple Russia’s economy.
Paul has blocked a quick vote on the bill until there is an agreement to narrow presidential authority to enact sanctions – an effort dismissed by both parties.
Despite bipartisan pressure, Paul has not been swayed.
“Somebody ought to read the bills, don’t you think?” Paul said as he dismissed lawmakers’ posture on Ukraine as saber-rattling. “Most of this is symbolic.”
Reuters had noted that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.J., had asked for unanimous consent to quickly approve the bill. The measure would remove Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status for Russia and its ally Belarus and clear the way for higher tariffs on imports from the two nations.
But Paul refused to allow a vote last Thursday. Under Senate rules, it delayed the matter at least until this week.
Reuters reported that Paul maintained he was concerned that an expansion of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act included in the PNTR measure — which has the act address "serious" rights violations rather than "gross" ones — might end up giving too much power to the president.
Republicans have criticized President Joe Biden for being too slow in reacting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Now, some are expressing frustration over Paul’s efforts.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Paul “has the right” to do it, but it’s “not helpful” for her party’s message.
And Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., when asked about Paul, said: “It’s what we’ve come to expect. “
Politico reported it is not the first time Paul has taken a position contrary to Republican lawmakers.
The outlet noted he was the only GOP senator to leave his name off a recent statement opposing a nuclear deal with Iran. And Politico called him “the face of opposition” to additional funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system in Israel.