Congressional Republicans Allege Biden Admin Has Spent Billions More on Ukraine War Effort Than Previously Known

Congressional Republicans Allege Biden Admin Has Spent Billions More on Ukraine War Effort Than Previously Known
Pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are loaded by the 436th Aerial Port Squadron, at Dover Air Force Base, Del., on April 29, 2022. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

A group of Congressional Republicans is raising concerns that President Joe Biden’s administration has underestimated the level of U.S. aid that has flowed to Ukraine since the start of its full-scale war with Russia in February 2022.

Several Republicans have been reviewing Ukraine aid figures provided by the White House Office of Management (OMB) in September. While OMB estimated at the time that U.S. spending related to the Ukraine conflict had reached $111 billion by that point, a group of 16 Republican House and Senate members believe the true figure may now be as high as $125 billion.

Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) was among 37 Congressional Republicans who reached out to the OMB in January 2023, suspecting the United States had already provided $114 billion to Ukraine by that point. The White House office responded months later, on Sept. 11, assessing Ukraine-related spending up to that point stood at around $111 billion; but Republicans were suspicious of the numbers.

“OMB turned over an untitled and opaque single-page spreadsheet which we found was clearly ‘nonresponsive to our inquiry,'” reads an April 9 letter to OMB Director Shalanda Young, organized by Mr. Vance.

The April 9 letter was signed by Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Mike Lee (R-Utah), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Bill Posey (R-Fla.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Mary E. Miller (R-Il..), Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), Josh Brecheen (R-Okla.), Mike Collins (R-Ga.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), and Eli Crane (R-Ariz.)

The April 9 letter states the OMB provided a new transmission for Ukraine-related spending last month, revealing an additional $684 million in appropriated Ukraine spending “that the administration had previously failed to report” and an additional $900 million in Department of Defense assistance that “should be added to the total Ukraine aid figure.”

The Republicans noted additional media reports last month by the Associated Press and Politico, citing unidentified senior U.S. military officials who alleged they had spent around $10 billion more on weapons for Ukraine than had actually been congressionally authorized.

Mr. Marshall had asked Ms. Young about this alleged $10 billion Pentagon overdraft during a March 12 Senate hearing, to which she responded, “No one was officially quoted from the administration in the article,” but did not directly address the accuracy of the underlying claims.

The April 9 Republican letter notes if the alleged $10 billion overdraft is accurate, it would put the total Ukraine-related U.S. spending since the start of the war at more than $125 billion.

The April 9 letter notes an article by CNN from Feb. 19 of this year, which cites two unidentified senior U.S. Army officials who described funds being taken out of Army accounts to continue providing weapons shipments to Ukraine without additional rounds of Ukraine-specific appropriations from Congress.

The Republican letter calls on Ms. Young to again account for the U.S. spending for the war in Ukraine and to directly address allegations the administration has overspent by $10 billion on the war and may now be diverting Army funds to the cause. The Republican lawmakers requested a response from the OMB director by April 30.

NTD News reached out to the OMB for comment about the Ukraine-related spending concerns but did not receive a response by press time.

What’s Next For Ukraine Aid?

The letter comes amid a monthslong standoff over new rounds of funding for the war effort. President Biden has sought around $61 billion in new Ukraine-related funding, attaching the request to a broader supplemental spending package for foreign military assistance for Israel, alliance building in the Indo-Pacific region, and international humanitarian aid projects.

A $95 billion version of President Biden’s supplemental spending request passed through the Senate in February with the support of all Democrats and independents and 26 Senate Republicans. The bill still requires action from the House to pass, but House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has yet to bring the spending bill up for a vote.

Some Republicans have grown increasingly skeptical of the Ukrainian war effort and have been apprehensive about sending more money to keep Ukrainian forces fighting. Some House Republicans who are more agreeable to the war effort have begun proposing compromise measures to bring their more skeptical colleagues onboard.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) pitched a scaled-down counteroffer to the $95 billion Senate bill, proposing a $66.3 billion measure with $47.7 billion for Ukraine-related projects. Mr. Fitzpatrick’s proposal, which has bipartisan House support, also entails a one-year reintroduction of the so-called “Remain in Mexico” policy, a Trump-era policy favored by many congressional Republicans that requires inadmissible aliens to wait outside the United States while their asylum claims are adjudicated.

Other Republican compromises call for structuring at least some new rounds of aid for Ukraine as loans, or transferring frozen Russian assets to Ukraine. Additional measures propose weakening Russia’s primary economic engine—fossil fuel exports—by expanding U.S. competition in that market.

Mr. Johnson indicated he’s looking at a variety of “innovations” to provide new rounds of aid for Ukraine and said in a March 31 interview that a House proposal would come forward sometime after the Easter Congressional recess. Congress has already returned to session after its two-week Easter holiday break, but it remains unclear when Mr. Johnson might schedule a vote on new Ukraine-related funding measures.

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