by Samantha Aschieris
Congressionally approved aid for Ukraine has cost each U.S. household hundreds of dollars, Heritage Foundation budget expert Richard Stern says.
“The formal aid packages alone amount to a staggering $113 billion—roughly $900 per American household and almost 12 times the spending cuts promised by House leadership in the annual spending bills,” Stern, director of The Heritage Foundation’s Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget, said in an email to The Daily Signal, Heritage’s news outlet.
“As with all new federal spending,” Stern added, “this $113 billion spending spree was added to our national debt and will cost more than $300 in interest costs per household over the decade. Of course, we’ve given more aid than that, but haven’t paid the bill on it yet.”
Congress already has greenlighted over $113 billion in “aid and military assistance to support the Ukrainian government and allied nations” since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in February 2022, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
“As the war in Ukraine becomes a prolonged conflict, Americans are rightly growing skeptical of sending more taxpayer dollars and equipment from our depleted armory,” Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told The Daily Signal in a written statement.
“Washington has failed to address their concerns, explain our nation’s strategy in the war, or enact basic oversight for our aid,” Roberts said. “If Congress can’t fix those fundamental issues, they have no business sending more money into the fog of war.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. had about 127.9 million households during fiscal year 2022, which ended last September, making the estimated cost for the approved aid to Ukraine per American household about $884.
After returning from their August recess, some members of Congress want to provide more funding for Ukraine in a bill providing hurricane relief to Americans.
“Estimates of what the administration will request vary wildly from $10 billion to $70 billion, which demonstrates that no one knows what to request because they don’t know what they will do with it,” Heritage Foundation national security expert Victoria Coates told The Daily Signal in an email.
“Until we get clarity on a strategy I would be very cautious about voting in support,” said Coates, vice president of Heritage’s Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy.
Ryan Walker, acting executive director of Heritage Action for America, the think tank’s grassroots arm, noted that Americans continue to struggle with rising consumer prices.
“Inflation remains high, families are struggling to make ends meet, and the credit rating for the United States was just downgraded,” Walker told The Daily Signal in a written statement. “Still, the Biden administration is demanding that American taxpayers spend billions more of their hard-earned money to blindly fund another international conflict without any clearly defined U.S. strategy, timeline, or oversight of aid.”
Before Congress can even consider the idea of additional aid, they must address the demands of the American people, which include public accounting of how previous funding has already been spent, a clearly articulated plan for American involvement and liability for their paychecks, impacts on the American military and its ability to confront adversaries, and assurances of further commitments from European partners.
Lastly, the American people do not want to see this aid jammed through with budget gimmicks. Instead, they want these minimum requirements met and any legislation to be considered on its own merits as standalone legislation and paid for without sending American families further into debt. Biden’s request falls flat on nearly all of these demands
By a margin of 54% to 29%, Republicans say they don’t want Congress to provide funding and supply weapons to Ukraine. Among independents, opposition jumps to 56% and support is a mere 17%.
Scott Rasmussen conducted the national survey of 1,000 voters Aug. 2 and 3.
Overall, a plurality of American voters—43% to 38%—oppose more U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Voters are divided by party, with 59% percent of Democrats supporting congressional approval of more aid and 24% opposed, Rasmussen said.
The poll also surveyed voters on Biden’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine war. Americans expressed dissatisfaction with the commander-in-chief with just 31% of voters rating his performance good or excellent. An overwhelming 61% gave Biden either fair or poor marks.
Rob Bluey contributed to this report.
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Samantha Aschieris is a senior news producer for The Daily Signal.