Rep. Michael McCaul, the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Wednesday that the panel will hold a hearing next week on the billions in military and humanitarian aid the United States has sent to Ukraine.
McCaul (R-Texas), who led a congressional delegation to Ukraine in February to mark the one year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, said the committee will meet next Wednesday to provide oversight as lawmakers question whether the assistance going to Ukraine is being used as planned.
The inspectors general of the State Department, the US Agency for International Development, and the Defense Department are scheduled to testify.
McCaul noted that other witnesses may be added later.
McCaul has said that he promised “vigorous oversight” of the Ukrainian aid package when Republicans won control of the House.
During the visit to Ukraine, he and the other House members reviewed the accountability apparatus the US has established to track weapons and to make sure the aid was getting to its intended targets.
“We were encouraged to learn that, to date, no significant acts of fraud or misuse involving U.S. assistance have occurred,” McCaul said in a statement earlier this month after returning from the war-torn country.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, testifying at a Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, said the administration is “intensely focused” on its obligation to ensure taxpayers’ funds are “being used the way it was intended to be used.”
He said the State Department and the Defense Department have personnel in Ukraine and at the US embassy in Kyiv overseeing the assistance.
Blinken also said President Volodymyr Zelensky is battling a history of corruption in Ukraine.
“We’ve seen President Zelensky go at challenges of corruption or misuse of funds in the government with a sledgehammer, removing very senior officials across multiple ministries who allegedly were involved in either corruption or improper oversight of funds. So I take that as a very good sign that not only are we seized with it, but the government of Ukraine is too,” he said.
The three inspectors general testifying before McCaul’s panel told the Wall Street Journal in February that while they believe the US aid is being accounted for, they wouldn’t be against having more auditors and investigators on the ground in Ukraine.
“I think we have been as creative and you know, out of the box, forward-leaning with the oversight we’ve been able to accomplish so far. But for real comprehensive, robust oversight, it can’t be done remotely,” Nicole Angarella, acting deputy USAID inspector general, told the newspaper. “The closer we are, the more comprehensive oversight will be.”
But other lawmakers, who oppose the assistance to Ukraine, have been skeptical.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) introduced a “Ukraine Fatigue” resolution in February that was signed by 11 other lawmakers that called on the Biden administration to end all military and financial assistance to Kyiv and urged all sides to reach a peace agreement.
“How much more for Ukraine? Is there any limit? Which billionth dollar really kicks in the door? Look around your house. How much stuff is made in Ukraine, or even Russia, for that matter?” he said in a speech on the House floor in February.
The US has provided Ukraine with $113 billion in military and humanitarian assistance since Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24, 2021.
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