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My Republican colleagues are forgetting a key fact about aid to Ukraine

Helping?Ukraine?isn’t just good for?Ukraine. It’s good for our economy.?
US President Biden shakes hands with Volodymyr Zelenskyy
President Joe Biden with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Ukrainian presidential palace in Kyiv in 2023.Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via Getty Images file

UPDATE?(April 20, 2024, 2:05 p.m. ET):?The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday afternoon passed three foreign aid bills to provide assistance to Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel. The bills now go to the Senate, which is expected to take them up in short order.


As the House of Representatives finally considers a bill to provide Ukraine with desperately needed aid, one of the critical facts getting lost in the public discourse is just how much of that money actually gets spent in the United States.?Republicans who are working against Ukraine aid are also working against American jobs. Aid for?Ukraine?isn’t just good for?Ukraine. It’s good for our economy.?

Consider the following figures:?$75 billion, 57%, and 32.?

Thus far,?$75 billion?has been spent by way of emergency aid to?Ukraine. There is no denying that is a lot of money. Was it money well spent? Absolutely. I go back to an old adage: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If Putin is permitted to run roughshod over?Ukraine, he would not stop there. The damage he would seek to do, and the recovery that would follow, is incalculable. Just on the most cynical financial level, rebuilding some of Europe’s great cities would cost trillions and take years. As for the human cost, the death toll would be almost impossible to comprehend. And even a perceived failure of democracy could spur on the rise of even more fascist, dictatorial narcissists with axes to grind. We would be allowing one man to set the world back a century.

Fifty-seven percent of the emergency aid previously approved for?Ukraine?was actually spent right here at home. While in some cases, “foreign aid” does take the form of direct financial assistance through humanitarian or defense programs, that is not necessarily the case for?Ukraine. About a third of that money has been spent resupplying our own stockpiles after disbursements to?Ukraine. Another quarter of that total has been spent manufacturing weapons systems for them and training?Ukrainian?soldiers on how to use them. For those keeping score, over $5.5 billion of that was spent in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Texas alone.

The United States designs and makes some of the world’s most advanced and most used arms. While it is not an industry we always brag about, it is born out of necessity. Without our leadership, many of our allies would be forced into unholy alliances with some of our biggest global competitors, adversaries and/or state sponsors of terror organizations. U.S. companies strive to stay ahead of the curve and protect our freedoms, and those of our allies, with the best weapons available.

With the welcome addition of Sweden this year, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) now has?32?member states — meaning America is not alone in the effort to help Ukraine. When joining NATO, its members agreed to abide by the organization’s charter, Article V of which commits them to a collective defense. This commitment is frequently summarized as: “An attack on one is an attack on all.” It is one reason why Putin loathes NATO so much. The promise of mutual defense from larger NATO members is the dam holding back his fantasies of a new Russian Empire.

While?Ukraine?is not yet a member of NATO, neighboring Poland is. In recent months, Putin has increased his rhetoric about Poland, even claiming that if Poland had simply acquiesced to Hitler and the Nazis, World War II might not have happened. There are few guarantees in life, but if Putin succeeds in?Ukraine, Poland would be the next likely target and we will find ourselves involved in a conflict with a much higher cost, both in blood and treasure.

The world is a difficult place right now. Sometimes I’m glad my children are still too young to try to understand it all. But it is lawmakers’ responsibility to look to the horizon and help steer the ship of state in a direction that will be most productive for our country today and all the tomorrows that follow.

Because it means so much for global democracy, because it is a wise investment for our future, and because so much of the money that we spend will actually stay right here at home, we absolutely must continue to provide emergency assistance to?Ukraine. It costs less in blood and treasure to help Ukraine now than to wait for Russia to invade a NATO neighbor. And, by the way, we create a lot of jobs and save a lot of American lives while doing so. That’s a deal we should all root for.?

CORRECTION?(April 22, 1:00 p.m. ET) A previous version of this story misstated the full form of NATO. It is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, not North American Treaty Organization.

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