As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, some U.S. lawmakers have warned that aid to Ukraine will not slow down. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Punchbowl News in October that further aid to Ukraine would become more difficult to pass if Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. The GOP did, in fact, win the majority in the House.
The public seems to be growing skeptical, as well. An October Wall Street Journal poll showed 48% of Republicans think the U.S. is doing too much to help Ukraine – up from 6% in March.
The U.S. has spent $68 billion to support Ukraine against Russia, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies. In addition, Congress just approved about $45 billion as part of the latest federal spending legislation.
So what are the concerns about U.S. aid for Ukraine?
- The economy
War is costly, and aid is funded by budget deficits, which contribute to inflation. McCarthy mentioned it in his interview with Punchbowl News, when he said “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine.”
McCarthy’s concern is an echo of Sen. Rand Paul’s words, spoken as he held up one of the aid packages earlier this year.
“My oath of office is to the U.S. Constitution – not to any foreign nation,” Paul said. “And no matter how sympathetic the cause, my oath of office is to the national security of the United States of America. We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the U.S. economy.”
Though, the war would be inflationary for the U.S. no matter how much money we spend in aid. The sanctions, energy crisis and food shortage have all affected the economy.
2. The money could be spent elsewhere
Some lawmakers have said the money for Ukraine could be used to address domestic issues.
“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,” Marjorie Taylor Greene said at a November press conference about funding for Ukraine.
Military defense experts said the spending is worth it to prevent Russia from gaining more momentum as a national security threat.
“We believe that it is our strategic objective to ensure that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not a strategic success for Putin – that it is a strategic failure for Putin,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said at the Aspen Security Forum. “And that means both that he be denied his objectives in Ukraine and that Russia pay a longer term price in terms of the elements of its national power so that the lesson that goes forth to would-be aggressors elsewhere is that if you try things like this, it comes at a cost that is not worth bearing.”
3. Ukraine has a history of corruption
On Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index, Ukraine ranked 122nd out of 180 countries. The index calculates scores using data from 13 different surveys completed by experts and business people.
Ukraine’s score and ranking have both improved in the last decade and the country has agencies to monitor such activity, including the National Agency on Corruption Prevention and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
4. It can be challenging to track what the U.S. sends to Ukraine
Politico reportedly obtained a State Department cable, which acknowledged that officials are struggling to track the aid and weapons the U.S. has provided because of the chaos of war.
“I’ve heard from constituents who have been down range, who said that they see some of the most exquisite American military equipment being scattered about Ukraine without true accountability and without a measure of whether or not it’s going into the fight in a righteous way.”
As we’re spending at a rate of $6.8 billion a month, various leaders have called for different solutions, from reducing that funding to adding oversight.
“I’ve heard from constituents who have been down range, who said that they see some of the most exquisite American military equipment being scattered about Ukraine without true accountability and without a measure of whether or not it’s going into the fight in a righteous way,” Rep. Matt Gaetz said in November.