As tens of millions face starvation from Putin’s war, Ernst and 12 of her colleagues are demanding accountability from USAID for failing to deliver the more than $10 billion in aid Congress sent to help.
WASHINGTON – As tens of millions face starvation worldwide from Putin’s war on Ukraine, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and a bipartisan group of 12 of her colleagues are demanding accountability from the Biden administration for their mismanaged, sluggish rollout of nearly $10 billion in humanitarian aid appropriated by Congress across two emergency aid packages.
Recognizing the acute need for shelter, medicine, and food both in and beyond Ukraine, Congress approved nearly $10 billion in humanitarian and food aid through two separate emergency packages—one in March 2022 and another in May 2022—but the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has failed to deliver aid quickly. USAID has not yet delivered or even committed all the funding from the first package, and has elected to hold more than half of the funding from the second package until the next fiscal year.
Today, Ernst led a letter to USAID Administrator Samantha Power requesting a briefing and answers for the agency’s months-long delays in delivering this Congressionally-approved emergency aid to people in need immediately.
In the letter, Ernst and her colleagues write: “Stopping Russia’s military campaign across Ukraine is a security necessity; preventing a large-scale humanitarian crisis prevents global unrest, mass migration, widespread starvation and preserves American safety and prosperity here at home. Unless the United States translates well-meaning rhetoric and appropriated dollars into a swift humanitarian response, Russia’s crimes against humanity and weaponization of the global food supply will go unpunished.
They go on: “The most significant proposal of humanitarian aid in modern U.S. history must be accompanied by an infrastructure that assumes more prudent risk and quickly delivers support.”
Ernst has been sounding the alarm for months about the impact Russia’s invasion on Ukraine is having worldwide, fearing an emerging global food crisis, and has been calling on the Biden administration and the Senate to take action immediately to expedite food aid by clearing bureaucratic red tape. Her effort to rush the food aid has gained the support of top Iowa and national agriculture groups, top U.S. Senators and Members of the U.S. House, and major food aid organizations.
Ernst is joined on the letter to Administrator Power by Senators Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Rob Portman (R-Ohio.), and Tim Scott (R-S.C).
Click HERE to read Ernst’s full letter.