The US Senate rejected a proposed amendment to the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have established a new office of Lead Inspector General that would oversee the billions of dollars being sent to fund the Ukraine war.
The bill failed 51-48 with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), John Ossoff (D-GA), and Jon Tester (D-MT) breaking with their parties, and independents Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) joining Democrats against it.
Amendment 1055 would have allocated $10 million of the NDAA's $866 billion to create a new office that would have been tasked "To develop and carry out, in coordination with the offices of the Inspectors General, a joint strategic plan to conduct comprehensive oversight of all amounts appropriated by the United States for Ukraine."
In a statement, amendment author Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said, “I am dismayed that my Democrat colleagues withheld support for this reasonable, effective effort to conduct additional oversight of US aid to Ukraine." He added, "Lawmakers are far better positioned to support Ukraine when taxpayers feel confident that their money is spent on a transparent and effective basis. I will continue promoting rigorous oversight of Ukrainian military aid as I also push the Biden administration to provide Ukraine the weapons it needs to win this war."
In a USA Today OpEd written before the vote, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) wrote, "Taxpayers in Arizona and Louisiana help fund this investment. And our constituents deserve to know that each dollar sent to Ukraine is spent with the singular aim of deterring Russian President Vladimir Putin and maintaining peace for the United States and our allies." They continued, "If the American people want to keep track of all the different streams of military, financial and humanitarian aid flowing into Ukraine, we need a dedicated team of regional experts following every penny."
"It is just common sense, and it is what our bill, the Independent and Objective Oversight of Ukrainian Assistance Act, will do," The two said.
For the second year in a row, Senator Paul attempted to add his own oversight amendment to the NDAA which would have "extended the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) oversight authority to supervise American spending to Ukraine in order to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse." His amendment was voted down 78-20.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald noted that Paul voted against amendment 1055 "because he wants the existing [Inspector General] to do this, not create a new agency for it."
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