Congress Poised to Pass $40 Billion in Taxpayer Funds for Ukraine Aid

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S., Oksana Markarova receives applause as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy looks on via video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Poo

Congress is poised this week to approve $40 billion in American taxpayer funds for the Ukraine war, with little debate and no clear end to the conflict.

The massive funding bill has been supported unanimously by Democrats — but has faced resistance by Republicans in both the House and Senate amid record levels of inflation and shortages of critical supplies such as baby formula in America.

On Monday, the Senate voted to advance the bill for a vote this week, with all Democrats and Independents voting to advance the bill. Thirty-seven Republicans also voted to advance the bill, and 11 Republicans opposed it.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) slammed the $40 billion bill, arguing that it could be streamlined to better help Ukraine. He said in a statement:

The House proposal would spend nearly ten times the annual defense budget of Ukraine while delegating broad discretion to the President and bureaucrats regarding where and how most of the money is spent. Much of the money will likely go to nations across the world not involved in the conflict.

In the House, 219 House Democrats voted for the aid — including far-left, anti-war members such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) and Barbara Lee (CA). A hundred and forty-nine Republicans voted for the aid, but 57 Republicans voted against it.

The flags of Ukraine, the United States, and the District of Columbia fly together on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol, Saturday, March 5, 2022, by order of the mayor of Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The flags of Ukraine, the United States, and the District of Columbia fly together on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a member of the House Freedom Caucus who voted against it, penned an op-ed calling on Congress to stop rubber-stamping aid for Ukraine.

Given the extraordinary size of President Biden’s most recent request, it is well past time for Congress to stop being a rubber stamp and start exercising proper oversight by demanding answers to some fundamental questions—first and foremost being ‘what is the overarching purpose of this assistance?’ Is it to mitigate the suffering of the Ukrainian people? To destabilize Russia? Or is it to actually achieve victory for Ukraine by expelling the Russians and maintaining the country’s sovereignty?

And Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) also called for more debate on the spending, warning that the U.S. was “sleep-walking” into war with Russia.

A recent Pew Research poll said about half of Americans say they are either extremely (24 percent) or very (26 percent) concerned about the possibility of U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine leading to a U.S. war with Russia.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told members of Congress last month that the war could stretch on for “years.”

The bill — which will be considered by the Senate this week — would authorize about $20 billion for the Department of Defense, and includes:

— $17 billion for U.S. military operations, including the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and to replace U.S. military equipment sent to Ukraine;
— $1.8 billion in U.S. military equipment for Ukraine;
— $414 million for “research, development, test and evaluation” related to the Ukraine war;
— $15 million for U.S. troop pay related to the war; and
— $13.9 million for the Defense Health Program.

An additional roughly $20 billion is for Ukraine bilateral assistance, the State Department, international organizations, and other agencies, and includes:

— $8.77 billion in economic assistance for Ukraine;
— $4.35 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukraine;
— $4 billion for foreign military financing program (run by the State Department);
— $900 million for the Administration for Children and Families for refugee and entrant assistance;
— $500 million for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development;
— $400 million for international narcotics control and law enforcement to combat human trafficking and collect evidence of war crimes;
— $350 million for the State Department’s Migration and Refugee Assistance;
— $190 million for the State Department for “Diplomatic Programs”;
— $150 million for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program;
— $110 million for the State Department for embassy security, construction, and maintenance;
— $100 million for the State Department for non-proliferation, anti-terrorism, de-mining and related programs;
— $67 million for the Justice Department;
— $54 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out public health and disease detection related to Ukraine;
— $17 million for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID);
— $10 million for the State Department’s “Capital Investment Fund”;
— $4 million for the State Department’s Office of Inspector General;
— $2 million for “salaries and expenses” to provide regulatory and technical support; and
— $1 million for USAID’s Office of Inspector General.

The $40 billion would be in addition to the $13.6 billion in aid that Congress passed in March, for a total of roughly $53 billion over the period of two months — the largest foreign aid package to move through Congress in at least two decades, according to the New York Times.

And that does not count the roughly $4.5 billion the Biden administration approved for Ukraine as of May 6 since it took office in 2021, including about $3.8 billion since the war began on February 24.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who also voted against advancing the bill, tweeted Monday evening:

Spending $40 billion on Ukraine aid – more than three times what all of Europe has spent combined – is not in America’s interests. It neglects priorities at home (the border), allows Europe to freeload, short changes critical interests abroad and comes w/ no meaningful oversight

That’s not isolationism. That’s nationalism. It’s about prioritizing American security and American interests

Follow Breitbart News’s Kristina Wong on Twitter or on Facebook. 

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