A group of House Republicans is calling for more scrutiny over U.S. taxpayer-funded aid to Ukraine as Congress takes up a White House request for an additional $38 billion in support to Kyiv.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is leading a resolution calling for an audit of the more than $54 billion in military and economic assistance approved by Congress since the Russian invasion.
“The American people, the taxpayers of this country, deserve to know where their money is going and how it is being spent,” the Georgia Republican said Thursday.
The GOP firebrand has been critical of sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to Ukraine, arguing that the funds should be put to use to secure America’s southern border — a position held by a small group of Republicans since the start of the war.
“We’re ignoring the dangers happening in our country while we are completely protecting another country’s border and waging a proxy war with Russia,” she said.
“I think the American people and the taxpayers of this country deserve to know why the Biden administration and this Congress is so interested in funding the protection of Ukraine’s border and not the protection of our border,” she said.
Mrs. Greene’s resolution, which currently has 11 co-sponsors, would require the Pentagon and State Department to preserve and hand over to Congress copies of all documents and communication pertaining to U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
She introduced the bill as a privileged resolution, giving House committees of jurisdiction 14 days to reject the resolution or approve it for a vote on the House floor.
Earlier this week, the White House asked Congress for $10 billion in funding to combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and an additional $37.7 billion in aid to Ukraine as Congress begins debate on its next spending measure ahead of a mid-December deadline.
The request includes $21.7 billion in additional military aid to Kyiv and to replenish U.S. stockpiles of weapons that have been sent to Ukraine.
The White House is also requesting $14.5 billion for direct budget support and humanitarian assistance, $626 million for nuclear security support for Ukraine and to reduce energy costs, and $900 million for healthcare assistance for Ukrainian refugees.
Congress included $12.3 billion in aid to Ukraine in its stopgap spending bill this fall, in line with President Biden’s request in September.
The package marked the third round of U.S. aid to Ukraine approved by Congress.
But Tuesday’s request comes amid fractures in both parties over support for the war effort.
Last month, 30 liberal lawmakers in the House urged President Biden in an open letter to push more assertively for peace talks, a clear break within the president.
The lawmakers also suggested Mr. Biden would have strong Democratic support for aid to Ukraine if he followed their advice, urging the president to “pair the military and economic support the United States has provided to Ukraine with a proactive diplomatic push.”
The letter marked the first indication that unanimous support within the Democratic Party for Mr. Biden’s Ukraine policy could be at risk unless future funds come with diplomatic demands as well.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Washington Democrat and Congressional Progressive Caucus chairwoman, later withdrew the letter under intense pressure from party leaders.
On the other side of the aisle, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy warned in October that Congress will not provide a “blank check” for Ukraine if the GOP were to win the majority in the midterm elections, which looks likely to have happened.
A majority of GOP lawmakers, however, still support funding Ukraine, despite 57 Republicans in the House and 11 in the Senate voting against a $40 billion aid package in May.
But Mrs. Greene signaled waning support within the Republican conference for providing endless support to Ukraine.
“There’s just a few of us that voted no from the beginning,” she said. “But with each spending bill that came through, our numbers grew.”
“The American people are who we represent and I can tell your right now my district … is not interested in continuing to fund a war in Ukraine and defending Ukraine’s border while our border is being invaded every single day,” she said.