The three Republican candidates running in Iowa’s third congressional district primary are raising concerns about U.S. aid to Ukraine.
During a debate broadcast tonight on KCCI-TV in Des Moines, Nicole Hasso of Johnston said America has always helped its allies, but the money would be better spent on fortifying the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Right now we have no idea who is in our backyard, but yet and still we’re sending funds, money to another country. We have to take care of America first,” said Hasso, who works in the financial service industry.
Gary Leffler, a construction consultant from West Des Moines, is also opposed to the $40 billion package that passed the U.S. House last Tuesday on a bipartisan 368-57 vote.
“How can we fund what’s going on there and say the security of Ukraine is more important than our own border?” Leffler asked rhetorically.
Zach Nunn of Bondurant, a state senator who is a member of the Iowa Air National Guard, said the bill passed by the House lacks sufficient oversight of the spending, but he supports sending aid to Ukraine.
“Most importantly, let’s stand up to Russia today because an autocrat in Russia that is unchecked becomes a China that is unchecked in Taiwan or an Tehran that is unchecked against Israel,” Nunn said. “America first means standing up for our national interests around the world.”
Congresswoman Cindy Axne, the Democrat from West Des Moines who will face one of these Republicans in the General Election, voted for the $40 billion in aid to Ukraine as did the three Iowa Republicans who also serve in the U.S. House.
It was expected to quickly pass the U.S. Senate last week, but Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky blocked the vote and is asking that a federal watchdog be appointed to oversee the spending. Nunn did not cite Paul by name, but suggested Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, should additional oversight before the bill is sent to President Biden.
The plan gives Biden authority to send Ukraine more military equipment and weapons from the U.S. stockpile as well as buy weapons from contractors and send those to Ukraine. Nine billion out of the $40 billion will be spent on replacing U.S. military equipment that’s been sent to Ukraine. About $1 billion is for food, medical supplies and other humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine.