Sen. Lee, Rep. Curtis question U.S. involvement in Ukraine

'I support Ukraine in their war. I support continued funding for their efforts, but these are basic questions any organization would ask in a transaction,' Curtis said.

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. John Curtis have begun to question the United States’ involvement in the ongoing war in Ukraine, and are pressing the Biden administration to more clearly define the United States’s interests in the it.

Sen. Lee recently introduced the Define the Mission Act in the Senate. It requires President Biden to to submit a comprehensive strategy on U.S. involvement in Ukraine to Congress within 30 days of enactment.

Some Republicans are beginning to doubt President Biden’s “as long as it takes” approach to U.S. support of Ukraine, as $113 billion in aid has already been provided to the Eastern European nation in addition to an impending $24 billion request.

“The Biden administration’s ‘as long as it takes’ approach to Ukraine is unacceptable, and frankly, not a strategy,” said Lee. “Before we spend another penny on Ukraine, the administration owes Congress and the American people a plan of action. This bill requires the Biden administration to put pen to paper and define our goal in Ukraine.”

Lee’s Define the Mission Act would require the Biden administration to provide a clear definition of the U.S. national interests at stake; provide an estimate of the resources required, including U.S. personnel, materials, and funding; develop a forecast of security assistance to be received from NATO allies within the upcoming year; provide a thorough assessment of the impact of Russia’s dominance in the European natural gas market on concluding the conflict in Ukraine; and require the Biden Administration’s strategy to not be contingent on the U.S. providing funds for Ukrainian reconstruction.

Companion legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Warren Davidson, a Republican from Ohio.

In addition to the proposed Define the Mission Act, the House has recently passed legislation related to regulating the funds being sent to Ukraine.

The House recently passed the Ukraine Security Assistance and Oversight Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provides the Department of Defense with supplemental appropriations for assistance to Ukraine in fiscal year 2024.

The legislation also establishes the Office of the Special Inspector General for Ukraine Assistance, who will be tasked with conducting and supervising audits and investigations pertaining to the programs and operations supported by appropriations to Ukraine; coordinating and making suggestions regarding policies intended to prevent and detect waste, fraud, and abuse; and keeping the Department of State, Department of Defense and Congress informed about issues, deficiencies and the need for corrective actions.

Rep. Curtis, who supported the bill, made the following statement following its passage in the House.

“Since coming into office in 2017, I have supported legislation to bolster the defenses of our allies through training and material support, a policy Trump reversed from the Obama administration’s failures to deter Russia. This included funding to Ukraine and its military. By and large it has paid off. When Russia expanded its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Ukraine was prepared with military fighting tactics and training methods more aligned with the United States.”

“Additional funding has provided Ukraine with weapons and humanitarian support it needs to fight Russia and defend its sovereignty. It has resulted in using 5% of our defense budget and no U.S. military personnel on the ground. In essence, Ukraine has destroyed the second largest military in the world without the U.S. batting an eye,” Curtis wrote.

To continue funding Ukraine, Curtis says he needs answers from the Biden administration on several questions, including the path to victory in Ukraine; what the U.S. is receiving for its investment in the continued war; how the U.S. is ensuring accountability of funding; and when NATO partners will begin contributing equal levels of support.

“I support Ukraine in their war. I support continued funding for their efforts, but these are basic questions any organization would ask in a transaction. To continue spending Utahns taxpayer dollars, Congress must receive assurances to these questions,” Curtis wrote.

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