President Biden’s administration is scrambling to track the nearly $20 billion in military aid it has sent to Ukraine as Republicans warn of impending audits when they take control of the House in January.
Likely future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his party will not be giving Ukraine a “blank check” to fend off Russia’s invasion. A potential audit would determine how much, if any, of the U.S. aid is ending up in the wrong hands. The Biden administration’s previous tracking efforts have inspected only a fraction of the aid provided to the country.
While some staunch Ukraine allies fear Republicans will cut off aid to the country, there remains widespread support for ramping up oversight efforts in Congress.
Firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has vowed to “hold our government accountable” for Ukraine spending, and some of her colleagues across the aisle are echoing the message.
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“The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it’s intended to go,” Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., told the Washington Post. “In any war, there can be missteps and misallocation of supplies.”
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The lawmakers agree that current monitoring efforts appear woefully inadequate, with the Biden administration inspecting just 10% of the 22,000 weapons the U.S. has provided to Ukraine between February and November 1, according to the Post.
U.S. allies in Europe have expressed hope that Republican skepticism of Ukraine aid will not lead to a widespread cutting of funding, however.
“You’d be playing into Putin’s hands,” U.K. Parliament member Tobias Ellwood said in October. “If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”
McCarthy has based his criticism of the aid packages on America’s economic situation as the economy threatens to fall into a recession.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy said last month. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
Nevertheless, America’s funding for Ukraine has been largely bipartisan under Biden, and many Republicans say there is no reason that funding cannot continue in some form.
“No one in Republican leadership has called for an end to aid for Ukraine,” Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, said Monday. “People on the Republican side are saying, ‘Why do we have to pass a $40 billion package to send $8 billion to Ukraine?’”