The Biden administration's action was so predictable: add money to continue supporting Ukraine in an emergency aid package that included priority expenditures for American natural disasters, such as in Hawaii.
Years ago, we used to call it pork-barrel spending. Congressional leaders, especially powerful House and Senate chairs of committees, would include hundreds of disparate items, such as a bridge to nowhere, in a massive Appropriations Bill and force the entire chamber to take an up or down vote. It would pass because the Bill also contained money required for crucial programs. The collateral benefit was that the pork items would also pass and become law.
Relatively poor states like West Virginia and Mississippi owe their numerous highway projects, libraries, parks, bridges, and buildings to the virtual kings of pork spending - the late Sen. Robert Byrd and former Senate leader Trent Lott.
Including pork spending items to benefit Americans is one thing; doing so to help another country 5,000 miles away is despicable.
In the $40 billion emergency aid package, which we fear will pass Congress, administration officials have cleverly inserted $21 billion - more than 50% of the total - to aid Ukraine. There is no money for cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco struggling with unhygienic conditions triggered by unprecedented levels of illegal immigration. On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the cost to care for asylum seekers has tripled to $12 billion- notice how the phrase "asylum seekers" automatically carries an aura of legality. No Biden official has ever accepted responsibility for the mess on the southern border that is lowering the quality of life for Americans for generations to come.
In a prior Congressional vote in December 2022 that authorized Ukraine's spending, $45 billion was set aside to last roughly through the fiscal year ending September 30. The bill was the fourth such in fewer than nine months, and the amount requested was massive because administration officials knew that a debt limit fight was in the offing. Besides, a new GOP House was to take over in January, so pushing as huge a bill as possible when the Democrats controlled both chambers was the best route. A few more billions don't make a dent when you're already borrowing trillions.
But the world is different now. Ukraine continues to struggle in its famed counter-offensive, which has barely moved the needle to retake territory from Russia. Kyiv also continues to suffer from endemic corruption, with President Zelenskyy announcing this week that he would fire the directors of all regional military recruitment centers. Current soldiers are tired and weary, dying by the thousands because of Russian defensive land mines. If corruption continues to plague a critical military function - a country can't fight without able soldiers - why is the American taxpayer being asked to subsidize this war effort?
The reasoning from Beltway types is thoroughly bipartisan. Addressing an Iowa voter's question this week, Mike Pence said, "Anybody who thinks that Putin is going to stop if he overruns Ukraine has another thing coming. If Putin overruns Ukraine, it is not going to be too long before he crosses the border of a NATO country where we are going to have to send our men and women in uniform to fight."
This type of logic is incredibly selfish and implies that American and NATO blood is superior to Ukrainian blood, so outsourcing our efforts to weaken Russia by sacrificing Ukrainian soldiers is a worthy spending cause.
Over on the other side, White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby chimed this week: “For people who might be concerned the costs are getting too high, we’d ask them what the costs — not just in treasure but in blood, perhaps even American blood — could be if Putin subjugates Ukraine.”
The entire myth is built upon one idea: Russia attacked Ukraine with imperialist goals. But we have proved repeatedly in these pages that this assertion is blatantly false and that Russia's actions were provoked by America's needless interventions in Ukraine. The Beltway crowd is cleverly making a distant war a conflict that is in America's national interest to fund and support.
The House GOP should not rubber stamp Biden's Ukraine aid request. A cessation of aid will immediately force Zelenskyy to the negotiating table to discuss how to end this endless and brutal war. The world desperately needs peace. Too many people have died and been displaced because of incompetent Western leaders that brought about decades of disarray in Iraq and Afghanistan. Enough is enough.
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