House Republicans demand Biden administration testify on Ukraine aid

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) gives an opening statement during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Tuesday, November 16, 2021 to discuss combating ransomware attacks.
Greg Nash

House Republicans are demanding that the Oversight and Reform Committee “immediately” convene a hearing with top Biden administration officials on the $13.6 billion aid package to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

In a letter to committee chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), 17 GOP lawmakers led by committee ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) and Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) said it was “vital” that the funding ensure that the appropriated aid is “distributed effectively and efficiently to best support not only the Ukrainian military resistance but also those Ukrainian civilians currently under Russian siege or displaced by Russian aggression.”

The lawmakers want Secretary of State Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator (USAID) Samantha Power and OMB Director Shalanda Young to testify before the panel.

“In any crisis the speed and scale of response and proper implementation are critical to success,” Spartz said. “Congress must exercise its oversight responsibility more effectively and demand timely accountability from the Executive Branch.”

The Hill has reached out to Maloney’s office for comment.

The supplemental aid package was included in the $1.5 trillion government funding bill that President Biden signed earlier this month to fund the government through September. 

Among its provisions, the deal included roughly $6.5 billion for the Department of Defense to support deployments to the region and to replenish stocks of equipment sent to Ukraine. It also included nearly $4 billion for the State Department and nearly $2.8 billion for USAID, including money for humanitarian assistance programs.

The U.S. has been racing to help Ukraine fend off Russia’s invasion, which is in its second month, through military and humanitarian aid. 

President Biden held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, and said the U.S. would provide $500 million in budgetary assistance to Ukraine.

“As Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to wage war against the sovereign nation of Ukraine, we must ensure bureaucratic red tape does not slow down this crucial aid or fall into the wrong hands,” Comer said.

“Chairwoman Maloney must immediately convene a hearing with top Biden Administration officials to ensure taxpayer dollars allocated for Ukraine’s military and citizens are not wasted, abused, or mismanaged,” Comer continued.

Tags Biden Carolyn Maloney James Comer Joe Biden Lloyd Austin Pentagon Russia Shalanda Young Ukraine USAID Victoria Spartz Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky

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