NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
A congresswoman who immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine is sending a stern message to presidents Joe Biden and Volodomyr Zelenskyy regarding the billions of dollars in aid being sent to her former country amid its ongoing war with Russia.
“Stop playing politics with people’s lives,” Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., said.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Spartz called for the implementation of what she referred to as “urgent action items,” which she argued would help get the situation in Ukraine under control and better streamline the massive amount of aid being provided by the U.S. with little oversight thus far.
“As a proud American, first and foremost, I’m kind of embarrassed that we let [Russia] get away with so much. But I think there is no time for games and politics right now. And our leaders and President Zelenskyy need to learn,” Spartz said when asked why it was important for Congress to establish proper oversight of U.S. aid to Ukraine.
She described the war as “a war for resources,” and argued that Russia had a “strategic interest” in its mission to take over its neighbor because of Ukraine’s raw materials and intellectual property.
She then blasted the “reluctant and slow” response by Biden and Zelenskyy in combating Russia’s military, propaganda and intelligence successes in Ukraine and called on the Ukrainian leader to fully transition his country into “war mode,” rather than attempting to move it forward as if life were continuing like normal.
“It’s not a rebuilding mode right now. [The] country [is] in the middle of a major war. And you have to treat it as the war. You cannot have life as usual, unfortunately, or you have it a very long time, and it’s going to be very bad,” Spartz said.
“I also think, you know, from our side, as Americans, we’re spending a lot of money and a lot of resources. We cannot have another Afghanistan,” she said, adding that Biden must “have a clear strategy.”
“He has to man up and align the strategy with his actions. His words and actions don’t go together,” Spartz said.
Spartz added that, regardless of what Biden was doing or not doing, Congress had a duty and responsibility to the American people to ensure “transparency and oversight” of taxpayer money.
“We need to be able to make sure that this money is spent efficiently and also that we have ability to be accountable to our taxpayers. And I think that is a must that Congress has to establish,” she said.
“It’s very unusual situation since we really don’t have our people on the ground. So we have to be creative. But I’m sure, as a former auditor, I can give a few suggestions and get it done very easy. So it’s not that hard to do. We can get it done, and I think we must have it done.”
When asked what specific oversight mechanisms she would implement, Spartz called for the establishment of a real-time auditing system that would help with efficiency in delivering aid, specifically defensive weapons to Ukraine, where it needed to go more quickly.
She also called for more personnel on the ground to ensure humanitarian assistance was making it to the areas with the most need, such as that provided by local non-governmental organizations rather than large international organizations or the Ukrainian government.
“You don’t want to give it to centralized government because … maybe they misuse it sometimes. They’re not always the most competent people sitting in D.C. or in Kiev. This is just a known thing,” she said.
“When you deal real life-and-death situation, you will be much more efficient, and you really will care about that. And there are a lot of areas that are really suffering in the most need.”
Spartz stressed the importance of avoiding bureaucracy in order to eliminate inefficiencies as she and her colleagues decided the best course of action for members of Congress to take moving forward.
“I’ll be honest with you, Ukraine right now is bogged down in that, too, in bureaucracy. And, in our country, we have a lot of bureaucracy, but when we start fighting the war, we eliminate it,” she said. “And people understand this is a real life-and-death situation. Bureaucracy must go away, and we need to be calm because we have real lives, real people are dying, young boys are dying.
“I think if we can stabilize, if we can streamline some things, if we can push back on Russia and put pressure on them to get to the table and stop this insanity … it’s a bad situation for the whole world, and I think we need to take it seriously and have a serious strategy.”
When asked what she would say if given a meeting with Biden concerning the situation, Spartz emphasized the importance of strengthening the U.S. internally to avoid Russia, or even China, potentially taking advantage of weaknesses.
“Joe Biden, as I said, needs to stop playing politics,” she said. “There are some things that he needs to do for this crisis, to have a strategy and to have actions that align with this strategy. And also to make sure that he works with us, with Congress, to strengthen our country internally.”
“We have terrible things right now shaking up our country from inside. Bad energy policy, inflation, bad economic policies, open borders, crimes, cartels have taken control of our country in the cities, shooting. I mean, this is real lawlessness. This is unacceptable. … I think we’ve become a country of anarchy,” Spartz said.
“So he needs to start governing and work with Republicans if he wants to work, because there are a lot of divisive issues. There are a lot of issues we’re going to be in the trenches fighting. But I think national security, this is an issue where Congress can come together if the president wants to lead, and he needs to stop being afraid to lead,” she added.