The U. S. has sent nearly $20 billion in first-world weaponry to Ukraine since its invasion by Russia. House Republicans, poised to take control of Congress in January, are now pressuring the Biden administration for greater accountability and transparency about these weapons transfers as well about other aid packages sent to the embattled Slavic nation.
The push for greater oversight comes after it was revealed that there have only been two in-person weapons inspections conducted by U. S. monitors since February.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CNN in early November that there "has to be accountability going forward."
Underlining his support for Ukraine, McCarthy said, "You always need, not a blank check, but [to] make sure the resources are going where it is needed. And make sure Congress, and the Senate, have the ability to debate it openly."
Another GOP lawmaker clarified to CNN, "McCarthy was not saying, 'We wouldn't spend money.' McCarthy was saying, 'We're gonna be accountable to the taxpayer for every dollar we spend.' ... A 'blank check' means that people get whatever they ask for. What we're saying is there's going to be some thought, there's going to be accountability."
The New York Post reported that Rep. Michael McCaul (Texas), the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, indicated that Republicans continue to support aid to Ukraine, but on the condition that it's clear where it's going and that there is accountability for how it's utilized.
"We have a voice now, and we're going to do this in an accountable way, with transparency to the American people," said McCaul. "These are American taxpayer dollars doing in."
Rep. Mike Turner, the ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, indicated funding will no longer be included in "Democrat bills," whereby assistance for the Slavic nation is contingent upon Democrats getting what they want in the way of domestic funding for their pet projects.
"We don't need to pass $40 billion, large Democrat bills ... to send $8 billion to Ukraine," Turner told ABC's "This Week."
Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) suggested that oversight has been long been regarded as necessary for weapons shipments to countries far less corrupt than Ukraine. According to Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Ukraine ranked 122nd out of 180 countries.
Waltz said, "With the volumes of goods that we're pushing, it's our responsibility to have third-party oversight. We do it all over the world."
On Nov. 17, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and other Republican lawmakers held a press conference to discuss taxpayer funding to aid Ukraine.
Greene, who introduced a privileged resolution to audit the funds allocated to Ukraine by Congress, noted that "Congress has appropriated $54 billion to aid in the Ukrainian conflict, and then our president, Joe Biden, has requested another $38 billion this week."
"The American people, the taxpayers of this country, deserve to know where their money is going and how it's being spent," said Greene.
In the press conference, Greene said that of the aforementioned $54 billion, $44 billion "is for aid to Ukraine and other affected countries. But what other countries? And how are they affected? And how did the American people's taxpayer dollars go to those countries? And to who? And to what organization? To their government? And in what way?"
Although Greene's resolution will likely be shot down by Democrats in the House sometime in the next two weeks, the Washington Post indicated that not all Democrats are opposed to clarity on how U. S. tax dollars are being deployed in Ukraine.
"The taxpayers deserve to know that investment is going where it's intended to go," said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.).... (Read more)
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