House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) disparaged those calling for increased oversight over billions of U.S. taxpayer funds going to Ukraine as Russian propagandists during an event on Saturday.
Smith, whose committee is supposed to provide oversight over the Pentagon, said the idea that the aid is not being overseen properly “makes me a little crazy,” according to a writeup by Politico.
“Number one, the focus on that is part of Russian propaganda — all these stories about how the money isn’t being spent wisely,” he said at the Reagan National Defense Forum, a yearly defense conference in Simi Valley, California.
“Second, Ukraine is spending the money really well,” he added. “That’s why they’re winning.”
The U.S. has committed $68 billion in assistance to Ukraine, which includes at least $18 billion in military equipment.
However, Smith later said, “I think, yes, we need oversight, but we don’t need that as an excuse to not fund what we’re doing in Ukraine.”
Congress is considering appropriating another $38 billion for Ukraine before the year ends and Republicans take control of the House.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) responded to Smith’s suggestion that the desire for oversight was “Russian propaganda”: “Wait, wut?”
Meanwhile, calls for more oversight have come from across the political spectrum, from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Rand has proposed creating an inspector general for Ukraine aid as there was for Afghanistan aid.
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