WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), today spoke on the Senate floor about the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014 (S. 2124), opposing the portion of the legislation that doubles the size of the International Monetary Fund as well as the allocation of defense funds to pay for the IMF provision.
On Monday, Inhofe introduced an amendment to S. 2124 that would strike the proposed $157 million of defense rescissions to pay for the aid package. The $157 million has already been reserved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as well as the Department of Defense (DOD) to build the current defense budget, and Inhofe's position is that subtracting these funds would only risk further degradation of military readiness.
On the Senate floor, Inhofe stated: "I think we have an opportunity here to do something with this bill. Hopefully we will be able to satisfy the needs of Ukraine and at the same time not provide further damage to our military… The unnecessary proposed $157 million in defense rescissions to pay for this aid has already been used by OMB and the DOD to build the current defense budget. These funds have already been spent and you can’t get any more out of the military right now. If defense is forced to pay for this aid, then the services will likely have to reduce their readiness accounts...
"Our national security funding can’t be treated like an ATM. $157 million can be used to support critical defense readiness needs like an Army Brigade Combat team for six months; 1,000 Marine embassy security personnel for a year and a half; about two months of the O&M for two Carrier Air Wings; almost two F-16 squadrons for a year… We want to do what we can for Ukraine, and we believe that the State Department certainly has an obligation, but the other half of the amount -- the $157 million -- cannot come from the military because we are so unready today."
Inhofe is also a cosponsor of Sen. Ron Johnson's (R-Wis.) amendment introduced today that removes a proposal on quotas and voting power at the IMF. These reforms proposed by the Obama Administration are unnecessary for the IMF to meet Ukraine's current needs. In a joint press release with Johnson to announce the amendment, Inhofe made the following statement:
"IMF has all of the authority it needs to meet all of Ukraine's borrowing needs with its existing commitments from the global community. It does not make sense to double the size of the IMF by ratifying a 2010 agreement and pay for it with money that can be used at the DOD to address significant readiness shortfalls. Furthermore, this reform would dilute the U.S. voting percentage and increase our financial commitment to IMF, while increasing Russia's voting percentage at IMF. I urge President Obama and Majority Leader Reid to take up our amendment and allow us to pass a serious aid package through Congress."