April 13, 2023
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early 2022, countries from around the world, including the United States, have rallied to provide support and aid to the Ukrainian government and its people. Our country’s efforts to aid Ukraine have been lauded by national leaders, but many believe there is more the Biden Administration and Congress can be doing to simultaneously bolster Ukraine’s recovery and our own domestic objectives.
Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke at the Chamber’s U.S.-Ukraine Partnership Forum and shared a letter written by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell outlining the benefits of U.S. support for Ukraine’s recovery efforts, as well as where those efforts could be improved to advance American interests.
More Decisive Action from the U.S. and Its Allies Could Have Advanced Ukraine’s Efforts
In his letter, Senator McConnell applauded business leaders who are thinking ahead about investments in Ukraine, which “could represent a huge win-win for American workers and the Ukrainian people's efforts to rebuild.” However, he noted that the U.S. and its allies must act “more decisively and more promptly to empower Ukraine” as they work to defeat the Russian escalation.
“An unsteady trickle of aid that merely sustains a stalemate,” McConnell wrote. “There have been occasions when quicker, more proactive, and more decisive decision-making by this Administration could have significantly advanced Ukraine's efforts, and by extension, our own goals and interests.”
An Investment in Ukraine Is an Investment in Our Own Future
Senator McConnell expressed aiding Ukraine lies squarely within America's own national interests, and that supporting the country in its war and recovery efforts is a “direct investment in our own future.”
“The majority of the security assistance … referred to as Aid Ukraine is actually America ramping up needed investments in our own defense manufacturing base,” he wrote. “This money either goes to replenish and improve our stockpiles or to purchase weapons for Ukraine directly from American defense manufacturers.”
“Either way, this assistance is a direct investment in good-paying American manufacturing jobs right here at home and greater security for our country,” McConnell added.
He also noted that the outcome in Ukraine will shape America’s long-term outlook and interests.
“Victory will leave NATO and our partnership in a more tightly-knit posture than before,” wrote McConnell. “This conflict … will pay crucial dividends and longer-term competitions against China, Iran, and others.”
American Support Needs to Be Streamlined and Expedited to Be Effective
McConnell concluded his letter with a call to the Biden Administration and U.S. allies to provide aid to Ukraine “at the speed of events, not the pace of bureaucracy.”
“Allies who are trying to increase their burden-sharing and want to buy American should not have to wait 18 months to get weapons under contract,” he wrote. “Congress needs to continue to provide robust top-line increases in defense funding.”
He also said the private sector should not have to wait for action from Washington.
“American industry should … seize the initiative,” wrote McConnell. “Our defense manufacturers and other related companies should act now to expand production lines of our own capabilities, … strengthen supply chains, … [and] expand R&D, [so] the future best interests of our national security and … of American industry [are] aligned. So let's lean forward together and row in the same direction.”