Biden admin struggles to track $20 million in Ukraine aid as House Republicans warn of audits
President Biden’s administration is struggling to track 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.
Presumptive House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his party will not give Ukraine a “blank check” to avoid Russian invasion. A possible audit will determine how much, if any, of US aid is ending up in the wrong hands. Previous monitoring efforts by the Biden administration have inspected only a portion of the aid provided to the country.
While some staunch allies of Ukraine fear Republicans will cut aid to the country, there is still widespread support for increased 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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“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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Lawmakers agree that current vetting efforts appear woefully inadequate, with the Biden administration inspecting only 10 percent of the 22,000 weapons the U.S. provided to Ukraine between February and Nov. 1, according to the Post.
US allies in Europe have expressed hope that Republican skepticism about aid to Ukraine will not lead to a widespread cut in funding, however.
“You would be playing into Putin’s hands,” UK Member of Parliament Tobias Ellwood said in October. “If America withdraws, Putin could pull victory from the jaws of defeat.”
McCarthy has based his criticism of the aid packages on the economic situation of the United States, as the economy threatens to fall into recession.
“I think people will sit in a recession and not write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy said last month. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
However, U.S. funding for Ukraine has been largely bipartisan under Biden, and many Republicans say there’s no reason the funding can’t continue in some form.
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“No one in the Republican leadership has called for ending aid to Ukraine.” Ohio Representative Mike Turner he 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?’