Follow us on social

Congress doesn't know how much Ukraine money is left: Sen.Warner

Congress doesn't know how much Ukraine money is left: Sen.Warner

As the battle over funding for Kyiv heats up, there is widespread confusion over how much cash is left in the coffers.

Reporting | QiOSK

Lawmakers are in the dark about how much money the Biden administration has left to spend on Ukraine, according to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“I still don't have 100% clarity,” Warner said Tuesday. “Of the $113 billion that we've already appropriated — $62 billion, roughly, on the defense side — how much of that was left? There was a little bit of ‘hide the ball.’”

The “lack of clarity” made it difficult to make the case for new Ukraine funding, which the House stripped from an emergency measure that staved off a government shutdown until November, according to Warner.

There is widespread confusion over how much Ukraine money the Biden administration has left to spend as it pushes for an additional $25 billion aid package for Kyiv. As RS reported yesterday, there appears to be a large amount of humanitarian and financial support money remaining, and Defense Department officials say they still have roughly $5.5 billion in funding to send surplus military equipment to Ukraine.

Warner, for his part, said he’s seen public reports indicating that there’s roughly $5 billion left in military cash, while others have put that number as low as $1.9 billion.

The comments came during an event with Punchbowl News, a journalism startup focused on Capitol Hill. RTX, formerly known as Raytheon Technologies, sponsored the event, which was followed by a friendly interview with one of the military contractor’s executives.

Companies like RTX were a key part of Warner’s argument for why the U.S. must continue to fund Ukraine’s defense against Russia. “The overwhelming majority of this [money] is going to, frankly, the American defense industry,” he said.

Virginia, Warner’s home state, is the largest recipient of American military spending, raking in $62.7 billion in defense funds last year, roughly $42 billion of which went to contractors. Notably, RTX was not a leading contractor in Virginia last year, though that could change following the company’s 2022 decision to relocate its headquarters to Arlington, a move that one analyst called “WD-40” for the “revolving door” between the Pentagon and the weapons industry.

Warner gave a thorough case for the benefits of continuing to arm Kyiv and endorsed a recent advertisement from “Republicans for Ukraine” that highlighted the extent to which the war has hurt Russia without putting American troops in harm’s way.

The prominent lawmaker also argued that a robust defense of Ukraine is the best way to stop China from taking back Taiwan. “If [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is successful in Ukraine, that is a total greenlight for [Chinese President] Xi [Jinping] and China,” Warner argued. “If you don't get that, you flunk Geopolitics 101.”

Photo credit: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) speaks during a Punchbowl News event in Washington, DC, on October 3, 2023. (Screengrab via punchbowl.news)
Reporting | QiOSK
Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

QiOSK

This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered his starkest warning yet about the need for new military aid from the United States.

“It’s important to specifically address the Congress,” Zelensky said. “If the Congress doesn’t help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war.”

keep readingShow less
South Korean president faces setback in elections

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol casts his early vote for 22nd parliamentary election, in Busan, South Korea, April 5, 2024. Yonhap via REUTERS

South Korean president faces setback in elections

QiOSK

Today, South Korea held its quadrennial parliamentary election, which ended in the opposition liberal party’s landslide victory. The liberal camp, combining the main opposition liberal party and its two sister parties, won enough seats (180 or more) to unilaterally fast-track bills and end filibusters. The ruling conservative party’s defeat comes as no surprise since many South Koreans entered the election highly dissatisfied with the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and determined to keep the government in check.

What does this mean for South Korea’s foreign policy for the remaining three years of the Yoon administration? Traditionally, parliamentary elections have tended to have little effect on the incumbent government’s foreign policy. However, today’s election may create legitimate domestic constraints on the Yoon administration’s foreign policy primarily by shrinking Yoon’s political capital and legitimacy to implement his foreign policy agenda.

keep readingShow less
Could the maritime corridor become Gaza’s lifeline?

A tugboat tows a barge loaded with humanitarian aid for Gaza, as seen from Larnaca, Cyprus, March 30, 2024. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Could the maritime corridor become Gaza’s lifeline?

Middle East

As Gaza’s humanitarian crisis deepens, a small U.S.-based advisory group hopes to build a temporary port that could bring as many as 200 truckloads of aid into the besieged strip each day, more than doubling the average daily flow of aid, according to a person with detailed knowledge of the maritime corridor plan.

The port effort, led by a firm called Fogbow, could start bringing aid into Gaza from Cyprus within 28 days of receiving the necessary funding from international donors. The project would require $30 million to get started, followed by an additional $30 million each month to continue operations, according to the source.

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest