Amid deliberations in the Senate over the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which once passed and enacted will fund the next fiscal year of the nation’s defense, the chamber rejected a proposed amendment backed by GOP Sens. J.D. Vance (Ohio) and Josh Hawley (Mo.) that could have limited the aid given to Ukraine and other U.S. allies.
The amendment, as proposed, would have updated the method of tabulating the value of given assistance by adding elements to the calculations of cost. Additional elements newly formalized in law would have included the costs of improvements or other modifications made to defense equipment in certain scenarios, and adding factors to the accounting process for aid that the U.S. provides would mean the country hits its limits at a quicker pace. In general, the allotments for assistance have been consistently updated throughout the Ukrainian defense against Russia, though some Republicans have also more directly clamored against those more general allocations — also failing.
In the Senate ahead of a vote on the proposal from Vance and Hawley, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) helped outline the opposition’s concerns. “This amendment actually changes a longstanding definition related to the President’s use of drawdown authority to provide critical military support to our partners in times of need,” Murray argued. “It would artificially inflate the value placed on the defense articles–things like weapons or military items or technical data that we provide to our partners and allies, resulting in the administration hitting the cap on its authority much more quickly. That means less aid to Ukraine, less aid to Taiwan, less aid to any ally that needs assistance in the future.”
Vance himself has explicitly backed the U.S. alliance with Taiwan. The final vote saw 60 Senators opposed to this initiative and only 39 in favor. Elsewhere in Congress, a proposed amendment from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that would’ve generally blocked further security assistance to Ukraine from the United States also failed amid deliberations over this same funding bill.