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Republicans are questioning President Biden’s request for Congress to approve nearly $12 billion in additional aid to Ukraine this month, fearing the timing is meant to benefit Democrats before the mid-elections. November term.
GOP lawmakers fear the White House will push the aid package because they know a portion of Republicans will vote against it without proper accountability measures in place for how the money will be spent. Such opposition, they say, will then be used to unfairly smear all Republicans by calling them isolationists or lackeys of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the election campaign.
“This new call from President Biden is just a superficial gimmick for the midterm elections that will only hurt our country in the short and long term,” said Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz.
GOP lawmakers say the timing of the funding request must be taken in the context of Biden’s recent conduct, particularly attempts to portray MAGA Republicans as a threat to democracy.
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“For the past five weeks, the federal government has raided the former president’s home… [forgave] student loans at the same time the president is talking about half the country being ‘semi-fascist,'” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, R-Pa said. “The timing seems very political, the issues [around this aid bill] seem very political.”
A White House National Security Council spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the funding request is based solely on what Ukraine needs on the battlefield to defend against Russian aggression.
Biden is asking lawmakers to approve $11.7 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine by September 30 – the deadline by which Congress must pass a government funding bill or risk a shutdown . The $11.7 billion is on top of the additional $2 billion the White House is requesting to deal with the impact the war between Russia and Ukraine has had on US energy supplies.
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The new funding request comes after Congress passed $40 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in May. The legislation was $7 billion more than the White House initially said was needed to help Ukraine avoid collapse.
Overall, 57 Republicans in the House and 11 in the Senate opposed the package. Many have argued that it lacks sufficient accountability measures to prevent corruption. A last-minute push in the Senate to create an inspector general to oversee aid was blocked by Democrats.
“It seems more and more MAGA Republicans are on the same soft Putin playbook that we saw used by former President Trump,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. , after the adoption of the bill.
Republicans now fear Biden is grooming them to deal with similar attacks just before the midterms. Part of that mistrust rests in the fact that the White House has never explicitly expressed how long it would take for the first round of aid to Ukraine to run out before it needed to be replenished by Congress.
“We all want to help, we’re all appalled by what Russia has done in Ukraine,” Perry said. “But we also have to defend the responsibility of the American taxpayer and how their money is spent and where.”
Administration officials have argued that the ambiguity stems from the fluid nature of the war. Although they are unable to determine how long the aid will last, White House officials have an estimate of how much has already been used.
Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, released a statement last week indicating that approximately “three-quarters of the aid that Congress has previously provided to Ukraine has been disbursed or engaged”.
“The imperative here is recognized by a broad bipartisan coalition in Congress and across the country, in the name of core American values that go beyond any political party: Ukraine calls for this assistance in the name of democracy and sovereignty, because innocent people are being slaughtered,” an administrative source close to Biden’s orbit told Fox News Digital.
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Republicans say the White House has done little to provide Congress with transparency on how the money is being spent. They also say the administration has failed to explain its strategy for ending the war, arguing that voters have begun to take notice.
“You use it all you want as an election stake,” said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. “I can tell you the voters of Missouri – I get asked about this all the time – why are we building a nation in Ukraine, but can’t secure our own border?”