Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with U.S. leaders this week hoping for increased support for his country’s ongoing war with Russia, but a letter from 29 Republican members of the House and Senate dashed some cold water on his aspirations.
At the very least, any additional aid to Ukraine is likely to be tied up in multi-sided negotiations aimed at preventing a partial shutdown of the federal government at the end of the month.
But there’s some real question as to whether additional aid is forthcoming at all, especially in the wake of a letter addressed to Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young on Thursday.
The letter was apparently written in response to a request made in August for Congress to appropriate an additional $24 billion in Ukraine aid for “security, economic, and humanitarian
The letter, which appears in its entirety below, was signed by Sens. JD Vance, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Mike Braun, Roger Marshall, and Tommy Tuberville, as well as by 22 members of the House, including Chip Roy, Anna Paulina Luna, Beth Van Duyne and Paul Gosar.
The letter points out that Congress has already designated $114 billion for Ukraine since last’s years invasion, and that that was only part of the total sum spent supporting Ukraine. Other funds have been “transferred and reprogrammed” by the Biden administration without congressional involvement, the letter implies.
As a result, the exact total amount of U.S. aid to Ukraine is apparently something of a mystery.
“The vast majority of Congress remains unaware of how much the United States has spent to date in total on this conflict, information which is necessary for Congress to prudently exercise its appropriations power,” the letter said.
“It is difficult to envision a benign explanation for this lack of clarity,” it added.
The letter noted a number of errors in accounting and the defense appropriations processes that demonstrate the administration’s opacity with regard to funding Ukraine, although it’s hard to determine whether the problems result from incompetence or an intention to obfuscate the true numbers.
“The American people deserve to know what their money has gone to,” the letter stated before listing a number of questions the 29 legislators wanted answered before they would consider additional funds for the war effort:
- How is the counteroffensive going?
- Are the Ukrainians any closer to victory than they were 6 months ago?
- What is our strategy, and what is the president’s exit plan?
- What does the administration define as victory in Ukraine?
- What assistance has the United States provided Ukraine under Title 10?
Meanwhile, according to The Wall Street Journal, some European nations are also beginning to balk at continuing to support the ongoing war, particularly in light of their own “dwindling” supplies of weapons and ammunition. If the U.S. should stop sending aid, that will likely open the door for other nations to do so, the outlet speculated.
The number of senators and representatives who signed this letter would be enough “to block or at least delay” any additional funding of the war by Congress.
Near the end of Zelenskyy’s Washington visit, the Biden administration announced $325 million in aid for his country, but the Journal said that was part of a “previously approved congressional aid” package.
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