by WorldTribune Staff, November 17, 2022
Joe Biden is calling on Congress to approve another $37.7 billion in aid to Ukraine for the war effort against Russia.
Biden’s proposed new round of aid to Ukraine reportedly includes $21.7 billion for military, intelligence and other defense support; $14.5 billion to help keep the Ukrainian government functioning, including paying government officials’ salaries; $900 million for health care and support services for Ukrainians living in the U.S.; and $626 million for nuclear security support to Ukraine and for modernizing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Some Republican members of Congress, which has already approved $54 billion for Ukraine, are balking at the new price tag.
“As the administration warms up another $37 billion request for Ukraine, perhaps we should have a full debate about our interest, how money has been / is being spent . . . etc,” Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy tweeted.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for House speaker, has suggested funding requests for Ukraine would face more scrutiny under the new Republican majority.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
Texas Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, who will likely chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the new Congress, said he will be leading that effort to provide more oversight of how the funding to Ukraine is spent.
“I do think you have broad bipartisan support for what’s happening in Ukraine, but I think you’ll see, if we get the majority, more oversight and accountability in terms of the funding and where the money’s going, and I think the American taxpayers deserve that,” McCaul said.
New York Democrat Gregory Meeks, the current House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said the new emergency request for Ukraine is “urgent to make sure that we get them everything that we can possibly get into the omnibus so that they have the weapons to continue the momentum moving through the winter.”
Meeks said of House Republicans: “I would hope that if they do take over, that their leadership will get them in line so that we can preserve democracy and not allow Russia to win.”
Meanwhile, NATO allies met in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss their reactions after a missile fell on the Polish village of Przewodów, near the Ukrainian border, killing two people. The incident is the first time that the territory of a NATO country has been struck during the near-nine-month Russia-Ukraine war.
Poland’s president, Andrzej Duda, has said there is no evidence to suggest the missile strike on Przewodów was an intentional attack or was launched by Russia. Duda said there were “many indications” that the missile was fired as part of Ukraine’s air defenses and “unfortunately fell on Polish territory.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that initial analysis suggested the incident was “likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory” against Russian cruise missile attacks.
But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he is convinced that the missile was not Ukrainian. Speaking to reporters, Zelensky said he had received reports from the command of Ukraine’s armed forces and air force and “cannot but trust them.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry claimed it had not targeted anywhere within 35km (22 miles) of the Ukraine-Poland border on Tuesday. In a statement reported by Tass, the ministry said statements about “Russian missiles” falling in Przewodów were “a deliberate provocation with the aim of escalating the situation.” The Russian ministry claimed to have identified the wreckage as a Ukrainian S-300 from photographs.