Opinion: Here are the U.S. congressional districts benefiting from Ukraine aid


Read Time: 5 minutes

If you knew that most of the military aid that Congress approves for Ukraine was being spent right here in the United States, quite possibly in your own congressional district — strengthening our defense production capacity and creating good manufacturing jobs for American workers — would you want your representatives in Washington to support it?

As the House prepares to vote on a new military aid package for Ukraine, the map above details the congressional districts that have been getting Ukraine aid money, including examples of the weapons systems being produced. As this map shows, military aid not only protects Ukrainian civilians and advances U.S. national security — it is also good for workers and manufacturing communities right here at home.

Providing military assistance to Ukraine is the right thing to do. American-made weapons are protecting Ukrainian civilians from Russian bombardment, stopping Russian forces from seizing Ukrainian cities and slaughtering their residents, and decimating the Russian military threat to NATO. It is in both our moral and national security interests to help Ukraine defeat Russia’s unjust aggression.

But our military aid to Ukraine is also revitalizing our defense industrial base, creating hot production lines for the weapons we need to deter potential adversaries and creating manufacturing jobs in the United States. That’s because 90 percent of the $68 billion in military and related assistance Congress has thus far approved is not going to Ukraine but is being spent in the United States, according to an analysis by Mark Cancian of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

With a team of researchers at the American Enterprise Institute, I have catalogued the weapons systems being produced in the United States for Ukraine, identifying the congressional districts where they are being made and how House members voted on the funding. We analyzed contracts and news releases and spoke to defense industry experts, diplomats and Pentagon officials to determine where U.S. tax dollars end up. We found that our military aid is providing a major cash infusion to 122 defense production lines in 65 congressional districts across the country that directly benefits American workers — and that doesn’t count all the suppliers that provide these contractors with parts or all the shops, restaurants and other businesses that support the factories rolling out weapons in these districts.

While many members of Congress voted in favor of aid that is going to their districts, many whose congressional districts have been prime beneficiaries have been vocal opponents of Ukraine aid. Here is a regional breakdown of where Ukraine aid is going, along with the members who represent those districts.

South

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A lot of Ukraine aid is going to congressional districts in the South whose members oppose it. For example, Ukraine aid is funding High Mobility Artillery Rocket (HIMARS), Hellfire and Javelin engineering in Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R) Niceville, Fla., district. It is funding HIMARS launchers and VAMPIRE Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems munitions in Rep. Bill Posey’s (R) Melbourne, Fla., district. It is funding HIMARS guidance sets and AN/TPQ-53 radar systems in Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s (R) Clearwater, Fla., District; HIMARS and Javelin final assembly in Rep. Barry Moore’s (R) Troy, Ala., district; and HIMARS rocket motor production in Rep. Alex Mooney’s (R) Rocket Center, W.Va., district. It is funding production of C-4 explosives for Ukraine in Rep. Diana Harshbarger’s (R) Kingsport, Tenn., district and Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM-ER) glide bombs in Rep. Josh Brecheen’s (R) Grove, Okla., district.

This despite those members’ opposition to the funding.

Midwest

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Workers in Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R) Lima, Ohio, congressional district are churning out Abrams tanks and Stryker combat vehicles for Ukraine thanks to the military aid he has opposed.

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West

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In Rep. Lance Gooden’s (R) Mesquite, Tex., district, Ukraine aid is also funding a brand-new factory that is expected to produce about 20,000 155mm artillery shells a month and employ at least 125 workers after it comes online this year — despite his vote against the aid.

Northeast

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Rep. Scott Perry’s (R) constituents are producing Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, Bradley fire support team vehicles and Hercules recovery vehicles for Ukraine in his York, Pa., district over his objections. Americans are also making Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB) and Patriot air defense missiles in Rep. John Joyce’s (R) Letterkenny/Chambersburg, Pa., district, despite his opposition.

Like the previous military aid that Congress has approved, about 80 percent of the new military aid package for Ukraine will go to Americans, CSIS’s Cancian told me— including $23.2 billion to replenish U.S. stockpiles of weapons and equipment we have already provided to Ukraine and $13.8 billion to allow Ukraine to rearm itself through the purchase of weapons and munitions from the U.S. defense industrial base.

In many cases, the weapons being produced are not going to Ukraine at all. Instead, we are sending older versions of the weapons systems to Kyiv from our stockpiles and replacing them with brand-new, more advanced versions — thus using Ukraine aid money to modernize our military. Our aid is restarting production lines for weapons that would otherwise have remained dormant, such as Stinger antiaircraft missiles, which hadn’t been produced since 2005.

For example: The Patriot air defense system, which has been critical to the defense of both Ukraine and Israel. The new Ukraine aid package includes $1.5 billion to increase production of the most advanced PAC-3 Patriot aerial-attack interceptors. In 2018, the United States was building those missiles at an anemic rate of 350 a year. In December, thanks in part to Ukraine aid, that production increased to 500 a year — and the new aid package will increase it to 650. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R), whose Camden, Ark., district produces the most advanced of these interceptors, has a mixed record on Ukraine aid — voting against aid in 2022 but for it in 2023.

The new aid package includes $5.3 billion to reach the Army’s goal producing 100,000 155mm artillery rounds per month — money that will benefit factories receiving Ukraine aid for this purpose in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Bristol, Pa.; Camden, Ark.; Kingsport and Cordova, Tenn.; Middletown, Iowa; Coachella, Calif.; and Mesquite, Tex.

It includes $550 million to produce Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) which are currently being built in Camden, Ark., Lincoln, Neb., and Springboro, Ohio.

It includes $348 million to produced TOW antitank guided missiles which are already being manufactured with Ukraine aid in Diné and Farmington, N.M, and Tucson, Ariz., and $227 million to produce Javelin antitank missiles with existing production lines in Farmington, N.M.; Orlando; Tucson, Ariz.; and Troy, Ala., as well as funding for many other critical weapons systems.

These investments will help protect Ukrainian civilians from Russian aggression, while strengthening America’s defenses so we are prepared to deter future adversaries.

How will members of Congress vote? In a forthcoming essay, I will let you know who voted for — and against — defense jobs in their districts.


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