Calvert Remarks During Floor Consideration of H.R. 5692, Ukraine Supplemental
Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 5692, which provides security assistance to Ukraine and funds a Special Inspector General to oversee these and other funds provided by the American taxpayers.
In 2016, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, referred to as USAI, was created in response to increased Russian aggression. These funds, along with the National Guard’s State Partnership Program with California and other efforts, have transformed the Ukrainian military from a remnant of the Soviet empire to a capable and increasingly western fighting force.
This funding is not sent directly to Ukraine.
Since 2016, these funds have been used to pay for the training U.S. troops provide Ukrainian troops and for U.S. manufactured weapons we provide to Ukraine.
Yesterday I supported an amendment preventing the deployment of U.S. troops to Ukraine. This program allows us to train Ukrainian troops so they can defend their own country.
Because of this Initiative, the Ukrainian people have degraded the world’s third largest standing army and mobilized a continent against an evil actor.
I was recently in Germany, meeting with Ukrainian forces who were headed to the front lines. I met with grandfathers who had left their families in order to learn how to operate tanks, young adults who have signed up as interpreters, and American troops who were eagerly training the Ukrainian forces.
They were all clear-eyed about their commitment to this fight. General Williams, the Commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe and Africa, said something that has stuck with me. While America is giving its precious equipment and its support, the Ukrainians are giving their blood.
This whole-of-nation effort to repel our common adversary deserves our support.
I agree with my colleagues that the Biden Administration needs to define our military objectives in Ukraine. We are and will continue to ask those difficult questions. I believe it is our duty to our constituents.
I also agree that we need enhanced oversight. The funding in this bill will be subject to all the new oversight provisions that are in the fiscal year 2024 Defense Appropriations bill. This bill also includes $20 million to fund a new Special Inspector General to improve end use monitoring and oversight of taxpayer funds provided to assist Ukraine.
Mr. Speaker, voting for this bill sends a strong message to Putin, Xi, and our partners in Ukraine. I strongly urge support of this bill.
I reserve the balance of my time.