Blinken grilled about $4 billion in US funding for Ukrainian pensions at House hearing

"I really think our priorities are out of whack," Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) told the secretary of state Thursday.

Published: March 25, 2023 11:31pm

The U.S. has spent $4 billion in pensions in Ukraine through its foreign aid during the war, according to a GOP congressman who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Tennessee Republican Rep. Tim Burchett confronted Secretary of State Tony Blinken about taxpayer money going toward pensions in Ukraine during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Thursday.

In response, Blinken said there are processes in place to make sure the funds are going toward approved categories. He also said that most of the U.S. funding moves through a World Bank program.

"We just had a report by the inspector general's office looking at the oversight of the taxpayers' funds in Ukraine," Blinken said. "The report was very positive in terms of the processes that are in place and the work that's being done to make sure that money is being spent appropriately, as well as wisely.

"At the same time, we have in place a process. For example, much of the funding ... that the taxpayers provide to Ukraine goes through a World Bank program that only disburses money upon receipts for authorized expenditures. And we have third-party validators to include Deloitte, which is working directly with the Ministry of Finance." 

Burchett wasn't pleased with Blinken's answer.

"I appreciate all that, but when we can't fund Medicare and then we're funding Ukrainian pensions, I really think our priorities are out of whack," Burchett said.

Burchett's office told Just the News that the $4 billion figure comes from a USAID report that they have reviewed. 

Burchett tweeted about his exchange with Blinken at the hearing.

In April 2022, President Biden said some of the U.S. aid to Ukraine would be put toward pensions for Ukrainians.

"It's also going to help schools and hospitals open," he said. "It's going to allow pensions and social support to be paid to the Ukrainian people so they have something — something in their pocket. It's also going to provide critical resources to address food shortages around the globe."

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