One of the worst kept secrets in Washington is no one actually knows just how much money the United States has spent in support of Ukraine. Over the past year, however, conservatives in Congress have been pushing President Joe Biden and his administration for the real number, and they’re finally getting some answers.

In a letter sent to Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young on Tuesday, Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, along with Sens. Roger Marshall, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and twelve other members of Congress, chronicled the immense difficulty Congress has had in getting what should be readily available information from the Biden administration. 

When Vance and other conservatives in Congress started pressing the Biden administration to provide the real cost of the Ukraine war in January 2023, the lawmakers estimated the U.S. had spent “a minimum of $114 billion.” Now, with added information from the OMB, Vance and company estimate the current total of aid to Ukraine amounts to at least $125 billion—$14 billion over what the OMB had previously claimed.

That’s not all. Conservatives believe the Biden administration could give Ukraine around another $4 billion in the form of weapons transfers from U.S. stockpiles under the presidential drawdown authority. This would bring the total amount the U.S. could give to Ukraine to $129 billion.

When OMB got to responding to lawmakers’ January 2023 letter almost eight months later, the OMB claimed, through an opaque and admittedly incomplete data sheet, that Ukraine aid totaled $111 billion. 

“The deficiencies in OMB’s response were numerous,” the Tuesday letter to Young said of the OMB’s September 2023 response. “It did not account for hundreds of millions of dollars in base appropriations for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. It omitted the administration’s ‘$6.2 billion in ‘freed-up’ authority’ to send weapons to Ukraine, which meant that ‘certain numbers in OMB’s spreadsheet, as well as dollar figures the administration provided for at least some previous Ukraine-related drawdowns, are outdated.’ It did not allow us to determine ‘what obligations, apportionments, and outlays the administration has undertaken for other countries in response to the Ukraine conflict.’”

Vance and company concluded OMB’s September 2023 response was “nonresponsive to our inquiry,” and in a follow-up letter sent September 28, 2023, added that “If OMB’s spreadsheet is to be relied on to produce such a figure—and we believe it cannot be—it is around $111 billion. It would appear likely that the data you have yet to provide would raise this figure by an indeterminate magnitude.”

“Every one of these assertions has been validated,” the Tuesday letter claims. On March 8, 2024, “nearly six months after we again requested a full accounting of Ukraine spending, more than a year after our original request, and one business day before the OMB director was scheduled to testify before the Senate Budget Committee,” the letter notes, OMB finally decided to hand over “another tranche of information.” What it included was shocking.

The latest OMB data dump to Congress revealed, according to the lawmakers’ letter, that the administration had failed to report at least another $684 million in appropriated Ukraine spending, left out another $900 million in DOD assistance connected to the Ukraine war, and a number of other pitfalls that has undercounted the total amount of Ukraine aid by a magnitude of billions.

There could be more, too, as lawmakers included a list of 14 probing questions and information requests in their latest correspondence with the OMB director. No surprise—it’s not Shalanda Young or Joe Biden’s money at stake, just the American people’s.

Originally found on American Conservative. Read More

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