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Several Republicans set to take over key committees when the party assumes control of the House in January have been warning the Biden administration that oversight hearings are coming. That includes finding out about how taxpayer funds have been spent assisting Ukraine’s fight against Russian invaders, which could be an early problem for the White House.
According to Fox News, the “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.”
The report continues:
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.
The Republican push to ramp up oversight enjoys some bipartisan support in Congress. Some staunch Ukraine allies fear the party will cut off aid to the country entirely, however. 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.
“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.”
Several lawmakers have said that the Biden administration’s current efforts to monitor U.S. weapons and aid shipments going into Ukraine are horribly inadequate, the outlet reported, adding that just 10 percent of the 22,000 weapons taxpayers have supplied to Ukraine between February and November 1 were inspected.
Allies in Europe, meanwhile, have said they hope GOP skepticism of Ukrainian aid won’t lead to a massive funding cut, however.
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 noted in October. “If America pulls back, Putin could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.”
However, McCarthy premised his criticism of the massive aid packages on the current economic situation in the U.S., as the economy is lapsing 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 before the elections. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
While congressional aid packages have been bipartisan, a growing number of Republicans are nevertheless expressing skepticism.
“No one in Republican leadership has called for an end to aid for Ukraine,” Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said in October. “People on the Republican side are saying, ‘Why do we have to pass a $40 billion package to send $8 billion to Ukraine?’”
He added that Republicans want to assert more financial oversight over the aid packages to ensure that American taxpayers aren’t getting ripped off.
“When we passed our bills for military aid and humanitarian aid, we sent military aid [directly] to Ukraine,” he said told Fox News in a separate report. “We sent humanitarian aid to the United Nations, [which is] horrific in getting aid actually into the country.”
“Because Russia is obviously a very important member of the United Nations, the humanitarian aid does not move at the speed that it should,” Turner added.
He also said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is aware of the nuances regarding Republican positions on the issue.
“He hears of these massive, bloated bills that are being passed in the United States,” said Turner. “And he’s very aware of the small portion, overall, that actually ends up in Ukraine… the concern is, and I used these words with him, ‘how many U.S. dollars do we have to spend to get a dollar to you?'”