COMPASS: A Ukraine supplemental that is not about Ukraine

May 2nd, 2022

Good afternoon from Capitol Hill.

The House is out for recess this week, but the Senate is in. In addition to moving forward on the conference process for a bill purportedly to compete with China (but which is stuffed with unrelated pork), the Senate is teeing up yet another $33 billion supplemental for Ukraine.

The president’s request is worth unpacking – particularly the parts that aren’t about Ukraine at all. Included is a request for $21 billion in new authority to the Treasury, funneled through the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST) program and Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PGRT) program.

If this sounds like a global slush fund, it’s because it is. The RST is a new program at IMF focused on helping countries address “longer-term” financial challenges like pandemic preparedness and climate change. And the RST isn’t just focused on Ukraine. Under the terms of the request, other countries including Russia, Belarus, and China could all receive a hit of U.S. taxpayer financed spending.

In a call with congressional staff last week, the White House confirmed that of the $21 billion, in new IMF lending, just $1.4 billion will be allocated for Ukraine.

And there’s more. From new authority for the Export-Import Bank, billions of dollars for global food stamps, and layers of funding for favored green energy projects all veiled under the heading of “urgent national security need,” the president’s request is far from altruistic. Rather, the White House is using the Ukraine crisis and the perception of urgency to shoehorn in funding for projects that could never pass muster otherwise.

And recall, in March, Congress passed $14 billion in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, appended to the $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill. Last week, they approved a bill to loan U.S. military equipment to Ukraine. And this is on top of the White House using existing authorities to send $2.8 billion to the country before Congress even got involved.

Whether or what Ukraine should receive from the U.S. is hardly the issue when the White House is prepared to use the crisis as a pretext for funding their own global ideological agenda. Moreover, congressional Democrats want to add $22.5 billion in additional COVID funding to the $33 billion that they’re claiming is for Ukraine. This, after reports continue to roll in about the insanely high levels of fraud perpetrated on existing COVID relief funds, with prosecutors calling the outright theft of hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars “the largest fraud in U.S. history.”

This White House request, and anything added to it, is not an immediate done deal. Any package will require 10 GOP votes to pass in the Senate. Senate Republicans should give any future funding package the scrutiny it appears to deserve.

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