21 Sep 2023 15:34

Discord growing in U.S. Congress over further $24 bln aid for Ukraine - reports

WASHINGTON. Sept 21 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's visit to the United States is taking place against the backdrop of growing discord in Congress on increasing assistance to Kiev, in particular, the additional $24 billion requested by the American administration, media reports say.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told ABC News that he had questions for the Ukrainian president. "I think I have questions for him" he said. "Where's the accountability on the money we've already spent? [...] I think that's what the American public wants to know," McCarthy said.

McCarthy said earlier that he was not in favor or a "blank check for Ukraine, and the Republican-led House Oversight and Accountability Committee vowed in February to make sure government agencies were monitoring the funds transferred to Kiev "to prevent and reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse."

Other Republicans are also trying to tighten control over the funds allocated to Kiev.

"Tell us what you're doing with the money, and let's have a debate on the floor about this funding," Mark Garcia, a member of the House of Representatives, told CBS News.

"The first thing I'll tell you is there's no money in the House right now for Ukraine. It's not a good time for him [Zelensky] to be here, quite frankly," another House member, Byron Donalds, told reporters.

Republican Senator Rand Paul said he would hold up any funding bill if it includes funding for Ukraine. "Today I'm putting congressional leadership & POTUS on notice that I will oppose any effort to hold the federal government hostage for Ukraine funding. I will not consent to expedited passage of any spending measure that provides any more U.S. aid to Ukraine," Paul said in social media.

Earlier it was reported that the Pentagon had put together a special team to monitor how the Ukrainian authorities use military assistance provided by the United States.

The party infighting is intensifying as the September 30 deadline approaches for Congress to approve fiscal 2024 government funding measures to avoid a federal government shutdown in October.