While Maui Burns, Biden Requests $24 Billion for Ukraine and Just $12 Billion in Federal Disaster Aid
President Biden on Thursday put forth a request for a nearly $40 billion aid package that includes $24 billion for Ukraine and $12 billion to replenish federal disaster funds.
The breakdown in Ukraine aid includes $13 billion in security assistance, $7.3 billion for economic and humanitarian assistance, and an additional $3.3 billion meant to fund infrastructure in countries affected by the Russian invasion.
Rounding out the massive request to Congress is $4 billion for ‘border security.’
The Associated Press describes the ask as a “massive infusion of cash” for Ukraine “as the Russian invasion wears on.”
— Chris ?? (@Chris_1791) August 10, 2023
Intentionally Tying Ukraine Aid to Disaster Relief
The AP report indicates President Biden’s request was intentionally wrapped up with disaster relief and border security as a means to make it more palatable to Republicans leery of providing an endless infusion of cash to Ukraine.
“The request was crafted with an eye to picking up support from Republicans, as well as Democrats, particularly with increased domestic funding around border issues,” writes the outlet.
So the sleazy legislative trick they’re reportedly going to use for the next round of Ukraine “aid” is to package it with disaster relief — that is, if you vote against the bill, you’re monstrously voting against relief for natural disaster victims pic.twitter.com/RrzMymvLwV
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) August 10, 2023
Again, our math isn’t what it used to be, but we’re talking $24 billion for Ukraine and just $4 billion for our border.
In a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, White House budget director Shalanda Young pressured swift action to follow through on the aid package due to America’s “commitment to the Ukrainian peoples’ defense of their homeland and to democracy around the world.”
Ukraine is to be the recipient of 60% of the aid package. Federal disaster – 30%. The humanitarian crisis at the border – 10%.
If any GOP votes in favor of Biden $40B supplementary request, they should go run their re-election bid in Ukraine
Your AYE vote means you believe Ukraine takes precedent 60%-40% than America’s open border, the plaguing fentanyl crisis & our Americans in need of disaster aid
— Mona Salama (@ByMonaSalama) August 11, 2023
Tragedy and Disaster in Maui
The attempt to tie federal disaster aid may get some Republican support and comes as a disaster has unfolded on Hawaii’s Maui island.
Officials say the death toll there has risen to 55 and is expected to go significantly higher as wildfires decimated an entire village and continue to burn on the island.
Thousands of people are missing or have been displaced while roughly 11,000 have no power.
“Until you see the devastation, it’s difficult to describe,” Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said. “But there’s lots of people that will need a lot of help.”
Imagine what $24 billion would do.
BREAKING: Maui wildfires death toll climbs to 55. Officials said in a news release that there are now 55 confirmed fatalities from the Lahaina fire, Maui, in Hawaii. Any help needed. pic.twitter.com/hsiUQ6Lpcf
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) August 11, 2023
President Biden on Thursday approved a disaster declaration for Hawaii, making federal funding available to affected individuals in Maui County.
The aid package presented to Congress includes, according to the AP, just “$60 million to address increased wildfires that have erupted nationwide.”
While this aid package is not tied to the Maui situation directly, the dichotomy in priorities is inescapable.
The United States has already approved four rounds of aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded, totaling about $113 billion.
Biden is requesting another $24 BILLION from Congress for Ukraine, after the record-breaking $113 BILLION they approved last year wasn’t enough…
You know the state of the counter-offensive is bad when the Western officials quoted by CNN admit it’s “extremely unlikely” that… pic.twitter.com/UflSNmVfga
— Rachel Blevins (@RachBlevins) August 11, 2023
Senate Democrats recently blocked an effort to increase accountability for the funds being siphoned off to Ukraine. Forty-Five Democrats opposed the creation of a new office to audit military assistance for Ukraine as part of a provision in the annual defense spending bill.
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John Sopko, hours after Democrats blocked the effort, warned that spending too much money too rapidly helps to fuel corruption.
Newsweek published an opinion piece earlier this week questioning if Ukraine has “kompromat” on President Biden, a term that became popular with former President Donald Trump and Russia in various false news reports.
Do you agree with my argument that Biden is a Ukrainian asset? https://t.co/p95GKz50Kt
— Max Abrahms (@MaxAbrahms) August 9, 2023
“All the kompromat talk swiftly ended the moment Joe Biden became president because surely no foreign government could have any dirt on him,” the column reads.
“This left no one to ask the obvious question: Could Ukrainian officials have kompromat on Joe, given all the allegations of his corruption in Ukraine?”
What message do you have for @SpeakerMcCarthy after he just wrote this? “The ongoing investigation from @GOPoversight reveals the Bidens took over $20 million from oligarchs in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine while @JoeBiden was VP.
The Biden Inc. business model:
? Get rich… pic.twitter.com/tSq2pGD1ug
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) August 9, 2023
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell echoed Democrat sentiments in trying to tie together the latest aid package to various other Republican-championed programs.
“I look forward to carefully reviewing the Administration’s request to make sure it is necessary and appropriate to keep America safe, secure our borders, support our allies, and help communities rebuild after disasters,” McConnell said in a statement.
McConnell has described the Ukraine war effort as “the single most important event going on in the world right now.”
McCarthy, the recipient of the letter from the White House budget director, said prior to the midterm elections that he would not back a ‘blank check’ for the war effort, but has since voiced support for the Biden administration’s policies in the region and insisted “we” must win.
Notice McCaul says McCarthy “always” had this position on Ukraine, despite the furious media outburst over his meaningless “blank check” comment last year, and despite the concomitant wish-casting by some GOP-aligned pundits that his comment indicated opposition to Ukraine policy
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) April 10, 2023
While Democrats and centrist pro-war Republicans have unified in the Ukraine effort, it isn’t just conservative pro-peace Republicans who have an issue with the open spigot of taxpayer funds to Ukraine.
A CNN poll shows far more than half of Americans oppose additional funding for Ukraine.
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