The Biden administration’s top Ukraine Assistant Guards bucked Republican calls for a special inspector general to oversee more than $113 billion in aid approved by Congress, warning that adding more layers of inspection would derail current oversight efforts could bring.
The inspectors general, who oversee Ukraine’s funding for the Pentagon, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, testified Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee that Congress is imposing strict requirements for interagency oversight of economic, humanitarian and military aid that will be sent to Kiev.
Officials said they had yet to uncover cases of significant fraud, waste or abuse during years of US efforts to funnel cash and weapons into Ukraine.
Acting State Department Inspector General Diana Shaw said the oversight model used to oversee aid to Ukraine has been “tested under pressure” and proven effective. She said adding another tier could “result in a redundant mandate and double costs [and] twice the effort.”
In a report released this week, the three inspectors general who oversee the management of Ukraine’s funding said they had received 189 complaints of alleged wrongdoing related to Ukraine’s response but were yet to substantiate allegations of significant abuse or fraud.
The report also noted that the Pentagon and State Department OIGs have had to review end-use surveillance systems that track weapons being transferred to Ukraine and have yet to uncover cases of weapons falling into the wrong hands.
However, some in the GOP remain unconvinced that existing measures are sufficient and have called for a model similar to the Special Inspector for Afghanistan Reconstruction and an independent watchdog to oversee US funds during this two-decade war should.
These efforts reflect broader calls from the GOP for increased scrutiny of the funds as the US itself faces economic headwinds.
Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a measure proposed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to force a full scrutiny of taxpayer dollars spent on Ukraine.
Democrats blocked Ms. Greene’s move in the last Congress, calling it an extremist ploy to “undermine strong bipartisan support for Ukrainian freedom and sovereignty.”
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks of New York, the top Democrat on the committee, said Wednesday that Republicans’ calls for additional oversight ignore current mechanisms to monitor the funds.
“Every dollar and shipment of US security assistance provided will be boldly pursued by an integrated, state-wide effort led by the Departments of State and Defense,” he said. “These mechanisms are not new.”
Rep. Michael T. McCaul, a Texas Republican and committee chairman, has been a fervent supporter of aid to Ukraine and has urged the Biden administration to send even deadlier military aid.
Still, he said Wednesday that he was committed to strict oversight to “incentivize the government and Ukraine to use congressional funds with the highest degree of efficiency and effectiveness.”
Source : www.washingtontimes.com