GOP Congressman Wants Financial Accountability for Ukraine War
July 13, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) has proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that requires a clear definition and assessment of the Biden administration’s war strategy, including a “diplomatic pathway ... by which the United States can facilitate a negotiated cessation of hostilities in Ukraine.” The proposed amendment also requires appropriate Congressional committees to provide a briefing on “the United States strategy with respect to Ukraine and the plans for the implementation of such strategy.”
The expectation is that by autumn, Congress is somehow going to have to approve more military assistance for Ukraine. Since February 2022, the U.S. has spent $40 billion in military assistance. Davidson’s amendment also calls for an assessment of what the continued conflict would cost, projected one, five and ten years into the future. And, unless this unclassified report is delivered to Congress within 90 days of the amendment’s passage, and lawmakers are briefed, no funds will be forthcoming. On two earlier occasions, in May and in December 2022, Davidson voted against major aid packages for Ukraine.
It’s notable that Davidson’s amendment has backing not only from such conservative groups as the Concerned Veterans for America, but also from progressive groups like Peace Action and the Friends Committee for National Legislation, which are attracted to the call for a diplomatic solution or at least the demand to have an honest debate on ending the war.
Davidson told Responsible Statecraft in an interview published July 12 that the main condition “is no mission, no aid. If you can’t tell me what the mission is, I can’t tell what I’m funding.” He also indicated he has no interest in funding a regime-change war that aims to grind down the Russian army with no real endgame. “In that case, you’re grinding down the Ukraine army, too, and frankly the entire nation of Ukraine.” To state the obvious, he is a making a frontal attack on the “support Ukraine as long as it takes” litany.
This week, the House version of the NDAA will start to consider 1,500 amendments, ultimately heading toward a full chamber vote. The restrictions indicated in his amendment apply only to aid provided in the NDAA each year through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative but won’t affect the main bulk of money that might be passed in a supplemental package.
Davidson emphasized that “if you really want to commit to some mission that says, no Russians left in Ukraine at the pre-January 2022 borders, then that’s the kind of debate that this is supposed to focus on. Let’s have that actual debate.” He explained, “A lot of people are like, if you are willing to do nothing then that means you’re okay with (the invasion).” But that lets the people off the hook who are supposed to define the mission and hold the executive branch accountable for accomplishing it—the Secretary of State, the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense. “That’s how you get George W. Bush on the deck of an aircraft carrier with a mission accomplished banner and everyone knew the mission wasn’t accomplished.”