The Biden administration asked Congress on Tuesday to give Ukraine $38 billion in funding as the Eastern European nation remains embroiled in a war to defend its territory from Russia and drive its armed forces from its borders.
During the early stages of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion, much of Congress crossed party lines in favor of Ukraine’s sovereignty. But in recent months, some have expressed concern about ongoing funding.
Home GOP leader Kevin McCarthy he said in October that his conference would not issue a “blank check” to Ukraine if he took the marshal’s gavel, and other members had previously voiced opposition to large-scale funding.
Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, the only member of the Republican Party leadership on the Senate Armed Services Committee, aside from Florida Senator Rick Scott, who lost his leadership role on Wednesday in a failed bid to replace Senate Republican Party leader Mitch McConnell, said Newsweek is confident that funding for Ukraine will continue.
“I’m not [concerned]Ernst said Newsweek. “I am just very supportive of Ukraine. I think it’s extremely important that if the Ukrainians are ready to work, let them do it.”
A former lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, Ernst takes a leading role in military policy, particularly on “emerging threats and capabilities”, a subcommittee on which he serves as a rank member.
In letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden administration, said the funds would be used to “provide Ukraine with the funding, weapons and support it needs for self-defense, and to help people in vulnerable situations continue to receive life-saving assistance.
Ernst, who works closely with McConnell, previously said that “defending freedom in Ukraine is defending freedom everywhere.” During the war, she worked to reduce U.S. dependence on Russia by introducing legislation requiring the U.S. to source minerals used to make defense equipment from other countries.
“However, when it comes to these rare earth minerals, it is important that we continue to work on them with our friends, what we call ‘friendly support’, ‘proximity’ or making them in-country,” she said. Newsweek.
While Ernst remains focused on continuing to support Ukraine as it seeks to strike a blow against Russia, another Republican member of the Armed Services Committee expressed frustration with the current spending strategy.
“I have concerns,” said Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville of Alabama Newsweek. “I am for Ukraine, but we gave $5, $6, $8 billion, and they say we want $40 billion. I am completely against such an amount at once.”
“They ask us for a lot of money and you don’t know where the money is, you don’t know how much, where it goes, what we do with it,” he said. “Tell us what they want to do with it. If they want a billion dollars this month for that kind of weapon and that kind of missile, I don’t mind, but not to write a blank check to Ukraine.”
Tuberville is not alone in his concerns. Other Republican Party senators on the Armed Services Committee, including Josh Hawley of Missouri and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, had previously voted against passing a $40 billion appropriation in May to finance the war.
Ernst hears the concerns of members like Tuberville, who are concerned about issuing “blank checks” to fund the war. She said Newsweek that if spending is tracked, she believes her conference will provide further support.
“It’s not a blank check,” said Ernst Newsweek. “However, what it is, we just need to make sure we track the money we spend. This is how we can give our voters and constituents certainty.”
some October 21 report by the Congressional Research Service reports that the Biden administration has provided more than $20.3 billion in security aid since Russia’s first invasion. This report also details the number of different weapons systems that have been delivered to the country.
With the Democrats in control of the Senate and the McConnell faction still at the top of the upper house Republican Party caucus, funding for Ukraine can be expected to continue in the Senate. However, it remains to be seen how the Republican-led house will affect this funding.
#Senator #Joni #Ernst #eases #fears #spending #Ukraine