President Biden’s administration has pledged an additional $53 million in aid to Ukraine to assist in fixing the war-torn country’s electrical grid.
The $53 million will be used largely to purchase circuit breakers and distribution transformers, according to The New York Times. The funds come as part of a multinational effort to bolster Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, which has been targeted with Russian missile strikes for more than a month.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces shifted toward targeting Ukraine’s power and water stations in early October, seeking to make Ukrainian citizens suffer through the country’s bitter winter.
In total, the U.S. has sent nearly $20 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began in February.
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The Biden administration is already struggling to track those funds, as Republicans warn of impending audits once they take control of the House in January.
Likely future House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said his party will not be giving Ukraine a “blank check” to fend off Russia’s invasion. A potential audit would determine how much, if any, of the U.S. aid is ending up in the wrong hands. The Biden administration’s previous tracking efforts have inspected only a fraction of the aid provided to the country.
The Republican push to ramp up oversight enjoys some bipartisan support in Congress. Some staunch Ukraine allies fear the party will cut off aid to the country entirely, however.
The lawmakers agree that current monitoring efforts appear woefully inadequate, with the Biden administration inspecting just 10% of the 22,000 weapons the U.S. has provided to Ukraine between February and Nov. 1, according to the Washington Post.
McCarthy has based his criticism of the aid packages on America’s economic situation as the economy threatens to fall into a recession.
“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” McCarthy said last month. “They just won’t do it. … It’s not a free blank check.”
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