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8 Jan, 2024 01:22

Biden must present a Ukraine plan – Republican leader

House Speaker Mike Johnson has said Americans deserve accountability for the billions of dollars sent to Kiev
Biden must present a Ukraine plan – Republican leader

The administration of US President Joe Biden must clearly outline its end goals in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and how any further funds will be spent, House Speaker Mike Johnson has said, as the White House desperately seeks congressional approval to maintain the flow of weapons to Kiev.

The US also needs to secure its own border before it secures anyone else’s, Johnson stated in an interview on Sunday with CBS. This echoes the main focus of House Republicans’ opposition to the combined aid package pushed for by Biden in October 2023, over $60 billion of which was for Kiev. Republicans at the time insisted on locking their support for the package behind funding for stricter border controls with neighboring Mexico.

Blocking the bill last year was a Republican “message to the White House that they were not being clear with the American people,” Johnson explained. 

“What is the endgame in Ukraine? What is our strategy? What is the objective? How will we have proper oversight over these precious taxpayer dollars?” 

In order to send more money to Ukraine, the US effectively has to borrow it from somewhere else, Johnson said, noting that federal debt has reached $34 trillion. “What we’re saying is, let’s do this in a rational manner… we need accountability for the people who are funding that,” he added. “The White House has not been forthcoming with those answers.”.

The situation with Ukraine aid is nothing short of “dire,” Shalanda Young, the director of the US Office of Management and Budget, told journalists last week. She warned that without congressional support for supplemental funding, the US may have to stop assistance altogether.

Since the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in early 2022, Kiev has received more than $200 billion in combined international aid, according to Moscow’s estimates. The US provided Kiev with a $250 million package of weapons in late December. Russia insists that Western military aid does little to turn the tide of battle, and only prolongs the fighting and increases the casualties, while making Kiev’s sponsors a direct party to the conflict.