Can we afford to give Ukraine another $37.7 billion in aid with the FTX scandal in the news and the lame-duck session of Congress in the future? That is a question leaders in the Capitol will be dealing with now that the White House has asked for that massive amount.
According to reports, the proposed aid package is going to include things like $21.7 billion for equipment and ammunition for Ukraine and to replenish DoD drawdowns and $14.5 billion for “direct budget support to Ukraine, critical wartime investments and security assistance as well as to strengthen global food security and provide humanitarian assistance.”
The package is also planning to include $626 million for “nuclear security” in Ukraine and modernizing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and $900 million for health care and support services to Ukrainians.
Before these numbers can be considered real and not just “authorizations,” Congress has to appropriate the money.
Some are having trouble thinking about adding to the pot of money that has already been appropriated for Ukraine.
One of the reasons for the debate is the idea that this will be rammed through a lame-duck session of congress. That kind of action is not respected in a serious Congress when entertaining funding requests.
A proposal of this amount should have a hearing so that the American public knows exactly what the money is going to be used for. This is especially true when it is for a nation’s defense.
One of the questions is how the Strategic Petroleum Reserve relates to anything other than Joe Biden a war on oil and gas.
Another question has to do with the money we spend being independently audited. Putin’s war in Ukraine has already shown the Defense Department how much our manufacturing base has been refocused on multi-billion dollar weapons systems with components produced in 435 Congressional districts.
This war has made it clear that America needs to be able to produce millions of rounds of artillery ammunition and hundreds of thousands of GPS-guided rockets.
But after recent news stories about possible Ukrainian mismanagement of money, the Biden White House needs to make sure any money sent to the country is used for the purpose it was given. The present administration should be serious about continuing to support the effort against Russia, or there will be more wars increasing the power of Putin’s regime. The administration has to take care of the fact that any evidence of corruption will break the popular support that is now given to Ukraine faster than any plan Putin can develop.
The weekend news story, yet to be substantiated, of Ukraine investing United States funds in FTX, is a prime example of corruption that could kill support for Ukraine. The stories indicate that FTX took the money and sent it to Democratic candidates to help them win the election.
FTX seems to be a clearing house that converted cryptocurrency contributions to Ukraine into fiat currency.
It is not clear as of yet what is true in this story, but remember that famous quote from Winston Churchill, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
Maybe the biggest problem in the coming days is whether or not Congress will choose to ram this $37.7 billion through a lame-duck session. This kind of action will be in the face of Kevin McCarthy who is set to take over as Speaker of the House. He will probably put the White House on notice that there would be significant payback if they try to maneuver in the months ahead.
Officials on the Hill should let the Department of Defense use its authority to do what is necessary for the remaining months of this year and allow the new Congress to press ahead beyond that. In the meantime, any corruption in Ukraine needs to be routed out if the American public is going to continue in generosity.