The United States has given roughly twice as much military aid to Ukraine during the first year of Russia’s invasion as European Union countries, a disparity that has renewed debate among U.S. lawmakers.
The U.S. gave $47 billion in the first year, according Kiel Institute for the World Economy data reviewed by The New York Times.
U.S. military assistance for Ukraine has been a domestic concern since Russia invaded the country in February 2022 and continues to be – as the war passes its 500-day mark and Congress attempts to pass the National Defense Authorization Act.
On Thursday night, GOP Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, among the House Republican Conference’s most conservative members, tried unsuccessfully to get an amendment into the bill cutting roughly $300 million in new funding for Ukraine.
“Congress should not authorize another penny for Ukraine and push the Biden administration to pursue peace,” the Georgia lawmaker said before the vote. “Ukraine is not the 51st state of the United States of America.”
Twenty-nine of the 31 North Atlantic Treaty Organization members are European countries.
NATO formed after World War II and essentially serves to safeguard its members and allies through military and political means.
Most countries in the European Union have yet to reach NATO’s target for them to spend 2% of their Gross Domestic Product on defense, according to Politico.
The United States, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom, Estonia and Latvia were the only countries that met the requirement in 2022.
The U.S. had the second highest GDP percentage for defense spending in 2022, at 3.46%. And The GDP percentage for the U.S. has held over 3% for the past eight years.
Former President Donald Trump has for years been critical of the United States’ NATO involvement, pointing to how much money the county has contributing to defense compared to the European countries.
“NATO has not treated us fairly,” Trump said while in the White House. “We pay far too much and they pay far too little.”
He also criticized Germany specifically for failing to meet NATO’s spending goal, telling then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a 2018 summit: “Angela, you need to do something about this.”
The United States GDP percentage decreased slightly during Trump’s presidency to an average of roughly 3.4%. The percentage increased to an average of over 3.5% from 2020 to 2022.
The possibility of Trump winning reelection in 2024 has caused uncertainty about the United States’ continuing commitment to NATO and Ukraine.
Still, President Biden has continued to voice his support for both and shows no indication of cutting funding.
“I’m saying as sure as anything could possibly be said about American foreign policy, we will stay connected to NATO,” Biden said during his visit to Finland on Thursday, according to Reuters.
He also said: “We will continue support to Ukraine, which is defending not only herself but also all the values we represent in the Western world” and “We will not waver. Our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken.”