Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to reassure Ukrainian aid skeptics that billions in foreign assistance is being spent on American manufacturers to build weapons at home.
“If you look at the Ukraine assistance,” McConnell said on CBS, “a significant portion of what’s being spent in the United States and 38 different states, replacing the weapons that we send to Ukraine with more modern weapons, so we’re rebuilding our industrial base.”
But a closer examination of the aid for Ukraine reveals an overwhelming majority of taxpayer dollars are going overseas. Just a fraction of the $113 billion spent has gone to “rebuilding our industrial base.”
.@LeaderMcConnell says "a significant portion" of Ukraine aid from Congress is being spent in states to make weapons.— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) October 22, 2023
"We're rebuilding our industrial base. The Ukrainians are destroying the army of one of our biggest rivals. I have a hard time finding anything wrong with that." pic.twitter.com/24janX3kbr
According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, about $67 billion of the $113 billion in Ukrainian aid went to defense spending. Of that $67 billion, about $27 billion went to “drawdown replenishment,” and $15 billion went to the U.S. military. Another $18 billion went to the Ukraine security assistance initiative, nearly $5 billion went to the foreign military financing program, and $2 billion went to “other defense.”
Richard Stern is the director of the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at the Heritage Foundation. An August analysis from the conservative think tank found the total aid to Ukraine cost taxpayers $900 per household.
“All of the money that’s not military support,” Stern told The Federalist, “is just aid we gave them. A lot of that is just cash, and so none of that directly comes back to the U.S. in any kind of real life.”
Of the military spending, Stern explained, “None of it is money. All of its equipment. A lot of it is equipment that had already been produced, so that’s not supporting U.S. defense industries.”
Last week, President Joe Biden proposed another $61 billion in aid to Ukraine packaged with spending for Israel, the southern U.S. border, and global humanitarian assistance for a combined $100 billion.
The proposal drew swift condemnation from Republicans on Capitol Hill, with Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance slamming the president for leveraging dead Israelis to extort more money for Ukraine.
“If he wants to sell the American people on $60 billion more to Ukraine, he shouldn’t use dead Israeli children to do it,” Vance said on Fox News.
House Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, who was elected to lead the lower chamber on Wednesday, said he supports more aid to Ukraine, but he believes lawmakers should break up the president’s proposal and vote on each bill separately.
“I told the staff at the White House today that our consensus among House Republicans is that we need to bifurcate those issues,” Johnson said on Fox News Thursday.