Even using the most conservative estimates released by the federal government, the U.S. has spent tens of billions of dollars in Ukraine, amounting to about 5% of the total defense budget, since Russia’s invasion last year.
Much of that aid has been in the form of weapons and other military equipment, which critics say has only served to ensure that the American military is less prepared to respond to threats against this country.
In a statement this week, a top Defense Department source seemed to concede that point, noting that the U.S. military is struggling to replace the resources that have been handed over to Ukraine over the course of nearly two years.
“We have already been forced to slow down the replenishment of our own forces to head against an uncertain funding future,” explained Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord. “Failure to replenish our military services on a timely basis could harm our military’s readiness.”
He told lawmakers that the Pentagon has spent all but $1.6 billion of the nearly $26 billion initially provided to restock the U.S. military arsenal. His plea came with a warning that additional funding is “critical and urgent now as Russia prepares to conduct a winter offensive.”
Ukraine funding has been a key sticking point between Republicans and Democrats as the two parties struggle to establish a federal budget. A stopgap deal House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) struck with Democratic leaders to fund the government until next month included the removal of additional money for Ukraine.
Based on recent remarks by President Joe Biden, there has been some speculation on Capitol Hill that McCarthy reached a secretive arrangement with the White House to continue providing assistance to Ukraine in the interim, but he has denied doing so.
Matt Gaetz asking the right questions:
"What was the secret side deal that Speaker McCarthy made with Joe Biden on Ukraine?"
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) October 2, 2023
“There’s no side deal,” McCarthy said as members of his own party prepared for a plan to oust him from the leadership role. “So I don’t know who’s bringing that up. There is no side deal on Ukraine.”
In an apparent reference to remarks by rival Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the speaker added: “If people want to play politics with it, let’s play politics with it. But I’m just going to do what I think is best for the American public and let it rest.”