A coalition of conservative activist groups urged lawmakers to oppose additional aid to Ukraine during Congress’s lame-duck session.
The conservative groups wrote to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), likely the next speaker of the House, and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), urging the groups “not to rush through another large assistance package for Ukraine during the lame-duck session.”
“Any new aid package to Ukraine should be thoroughly debated, examined, and voted on in the 118th Congress,” the groups emphasized.
This includes Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), America First Policy Institute, American Moment, Defense Priorities, the Center for Renewing America, and other groups affiliated with the Koch network.
The groups contended that granting more aid to Ukraine would create a “moral hazard,” which would lead to European countries contributing “lackluster” amounts to Ukraine:
Beyond the obvious legislative and fiscal concerns facing Washington, not linking Ukrainian aid to matching agreements with Europe is strategically unsound. These gargantuan sums of financial, humanitarian, and military aid provided by the United States have created a clear moral hazard, contributing to embarrassingly lackluster contributions from America’s wealthy European allies, in whose very region the war is taking place. Even discounting the proposed $50 billion, the United States far surpassed the combined contributions of the European Union and its member states in 2022 in aid to Ukraine. And when counting aid as a percent of total GDP, the United States has contributed more than the nations of Western and much of Central Europe.
The conservative groups said that Congress must demand that the Biden administration state what its strategic goals are for the conflict between Ukraine and Russia:
Finally, it would be a major blunder to rush another massive aid package to Ukraine without first determining the appropriate end-state toward which our expenditures are committed. Having already drawn down our treasuries and emptied our armories of hard-to-replace weaponry, the Congress must demand clear answers from the Biden administration about its goals in Ukraine and how aid will advance them beyond vague allusions to a decisive Ukrainian victory which it doesn’t believe Kyiv can achieve.
President Joe Biden asked Congress on Tuesday for more than $37 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine. Prior reports have suggested that Congress is working on a $50 billion aid package during the lame-duck session.
Congress has appropriated roughly $66 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine; the groups said that passing $50 billion in aid to Ukraine would bring this total to a “staggering” $116 billion.
The groups emphasized that this total would eclipse more than any other country’s annual defense budget.
“That alone should require substantial debate and a standalone vote,” the groups noted.
“Pushing through another aid package during this Congress’ lame-duck session with little debate or consideration for the will of the American people would disregard legislators’ responsibilities to U.S. interests,” the groups concluded in their letter. “The 118th Congress should be sworn in before further deliberations on additional Ukrainian aid occur so that these critical issues can enjoy the thorough debate they deserve by officials who more accurately reflect the current will of the American people.”