Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) took to the Senate floor Thursday to castigate fellow Republicans for holding up aid to Ukraine over provisions boosting funding for the International Monetary Fund.
“What has happened? Where are our priorities? Is the IMF, no matter whether it’s fixed or not fixed with this legislation, more important than the lives of thousands of people? Is that what we’re talking about here?” he said.
He invoked Republicans’ secular saint — President Ronald Reagan. “I will say to my friends who were objecting to this — and there are a number of them on my side — you can call yourself Republicans. That’s fine, because that’s your voter registration. Don’t call yourself Reagan Republicans. Ronald Reagan would never, would never let this kind of aggression go unresponded to by the American people.”
He went on, “So now because of an IMF fix, or a campaign finance fix, we are now going to reject a piece of legislation that was done in a bipartisan basis with the leadership of the chairman who I see on the floor, of which I’m proud, ranking member, Senator Corker of Tennessee, and we’re going to say ‘no.’ And you know the most ridiculous thing about all of this is? The majority leader has filed cloture. We have well over 60 votes. So we’re going to be back in about 11 or 12 days, whatever it is. Cloture will have been expired. It’s well over 60 votes. And we will pass this.”
“I’ve been embarrassed before on the floor of the Senate, I will tell the president. But I haven’t been embarrassed this way about members of my own party,” said McCain.
McCain has long been hawkish toward Russia and is not afraid to take on his fellow Republicans. But McCain’s remarks stand in contrast to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who said the IMF provision to boost funding had nothing to do with the Ukraine bill. Ukraine has long been a recipient of IMF loans, and is negotiating a new package of loans with the IMF.
The Senate is likely to vote on the Ukraine aid package when it returns from recess next week. McCain is leading a congressional delegation to Kiev in a show of support for the new government.