(DCWatchdog.com) – In a decisive move, the GOP Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, has declared that establishing a watchdog observing US military aid to Ukraine, which will be created with the 2024 defense bill, wouldn’t be a game changer in boosting oversight.
Johnson (R-LA) remains skeptical about the effectiveness of a new provision in the 2024 defense to Congress’s 2024 defense law, The Daily Caller reports.
While many Republicans and foreign policy experts support increasing military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, they view this provision as a minor enhancement to the current oversight measures, the report notes.
It stresses further that the provision, a toned-down version of what was initially proposed in the House’s defense bill, seems unlikely to change the stance of Republicans who oppose the Biden administration’s military and economic aid to Ukraine, as reported by lawmakers and experts.
“The [National Defense Authorization Act’s] inclusion of a provision which will help bring essential accountability for taxpayer-funded assistance to Ukraine is a step in the right direction. But it is not enough,” said a spokesperson for House Speaker Mike Johnson.
Congressman Jim Banks, a Republican from Indiana, criticized the Senate’s handling of the matter.
“The House provision was much stronger and should’ve been left alone. The Democrat-controlled Senate watered down oversight of Ukraine aid at the same time they’re asking the House to sign off on another $60 billion — they aren’t doing themselves any favors,” he said.
Republican unity is crucial as the party holds a slim majority in the House and has limited influence in a Democrat-led Senate.
Discussions are ongoing regarding President Biden’s request for a $61 billion emergency Ukraine supplemental.
The House’s version of the NDAA for fiscal year 2024, passed in July, proposed establishing a Special Inspector General for Ukraine Assistance to audit US assistance.
The Senate tried to include a similar provision, but it faced Democratic opposition.
The final version, agreed upon in early December, still requires regular briefings and quarterly reports on any misuse of funds.
However, it modifies an existing position rather than creating a new office.
The Lead Inspector General for Operation Atlantic Resolve will now be the Special Inspector General for the same operation.
Robert Storch, the head of the DOD office, was confirmed in September to lead IG for Ukraine-related activities, with the final NDAA allowing for a new hire.