US Congresswoman Spartz won't support Ukraine aid bill – WSJ

Thursday, 4 April 2024

The Wall Street Journal has learned that Congresswoman Victoria Spartz, a native of Ukraine, will not support the proposed US$60 billion aid package for Kyiv as she wants US President Joe Biden to provide a more straightforward strategy for US involvement in the war.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Indiana Republican, who is one of the most colourful personalities in the House of Representatives, announced that she would not support the package recently passed by the Senate, which includes US$60 billion in aid to Ukraine, as well as funds for Israel and Taiwan.

The House is expected to vote on the supplemental funding for Ukraine in one form or another this spring.

Spartz's opposition to the bipartisan bill is a clear example of the divisions among the Republicans in Congress over further aid to Kyiv amid opposition from many GOP voters. Spartz has said in a range of interviews that she would like President Biden to come up with a clearer strategy for US involvement in the war and closer oversight of how assistance is spent. Similarly, she wants any aid sent to Ukraine to be on a loan basis and for the administration to pay more attention to domestic issues.


"I understand the importance of this battle and the implications if Russia is going to prevail, but I’m also not very naive. If we don’t have proper oversight, we are not going to achieve our goals," she added.

The congresswoman noted that voters in the Indianapolis suburb where Spartz lives oppose aid to Ukraine for the same reasons as on a national scale, reflecting pressure on incumbent Republicans.

Spartz was one of the first to actively advocate for Ukraine.

Nowadays, Spartz admits that she has largely drifted away from focusing on Ukraine.

Speaking out against the current proposal, Spartz indicated that she might back a package that included funding for weapons, additional oversight, and stricter security rules at the US border.

White House officials have briefed Spartz several times, including in December, where she and her fellow Republicans had the opportunity to ask senior administration officials about their concerns. They stated that Biden's support for Ukraine has bipartisan approval and that US officials continue to monitor the oversight of the aid.

Democrats indicated that they had initially hoped Spartz would play a more active role in trying to shore up Republican support for Ukraine aid. Military hawks regard the funds as a well-spent investment compared to the money and response that would be required from the US in the event of an escalation of the war.

"There was a sense that she would be one of the Republicans really willing to go out on a limb to help Ukraine. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen her harness her personal knowledge of the country and its politics to effectively rally Republicans," said Sara Jacobs (US Congresswoman, California), who visited Ukraine with Spartz a few weeks before Russia's invasion.

Additionally, Spartz's influence is somewhat restricted due to her not having close allies in Congress and her unpredictable behaviour. One Republican colleague described her arguments during GOP conferences as being so confusing that people often walk out when she starts speaking.

Spartz announced in February 2023 that she planned to resign from Congress, citing her desire to spend more time with her two daughters. But a year later, she changed her mind partly because she believed that none of the Republican candidates running for her seat were up to the task.

In July 2022, Spartz asked US President Joe Biden to provide an explanation of the oversight procedures related to Andrii Yermak, Head of the Ukrainian President's Office.

Later, in a sensational interview with European Pravda, the congresswoman highlighted the alleged obstacles to establishing oversight of US military aid to Ukraine.

Afterwards, the US, EU and NATO stated that they had no complaints about Ukraine's use of Western weapons, and the Ukrainian parliament supported the creation of a commission to oversee the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine.

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