+3 votes
in General Factchecking by Master (5.0k points)
Representative Thomas Massie claimed that the US Congress spent more on Ukraine in a six month period than on American roads and bridges in a year.

3 Answers

+11 votes
by Journeyman (2.0k points)
selected by
 
Best answer

This claim is misleading

Claim: The United States spends more on Ukraine than on its own infrastructure.

Background: Congressman Thomas Massie claimed on Twitter that the federal government has spent more on Ukraine in the past six months than it has on all roads and bridges in the U.S. annually on May 11, 2022. This tweet came after Massie and 56 other Republican House of Representative members voted against the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022, a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, that was eventually passed by the House and was then headed to the Senate.

U.S. Spending on Ukraine

Public Law No: 117-128 (05/21/2022) reads "This act provides $40.1 billion in FY2022 emergency supplemental appropriations for activities to respond to Russia's invasion of Ukraine." LINK

The Social Security Administration reported "On May 21, 2022, the President signed H.R. 7691, the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022, which became Public Law 117-128." LINK
According Kiel Institute for the World Economy, a German Research Insitute, the U.S. has given 67.71 billion to Ukraine in terms of total aid with refugee costs. Reputable news sources like the BBC, PBS, CNN, and the New York Times have all cited this source.

U.S. Spending on Roads and Bridges Annually

According to the Budget of the United States Government for the fiscal year of 2023, "To modernize, repair, and improve the safety and efficiency of the Nation’s network of roads and bridges, the Budget provides $68.9 billion for the Federal-aid Highway program...This includes $9.4 billion provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for 2023 and which also supports: $8 billion for new competitive and formula grant programs to rebuild the Nation’s bridges; $1.4 billion to deploy a nationwide, publicly-accessible network of electric vehicle chargers and other alternative fueling infrastructure; $1.3 billion for a new carbon reduction grant program; and $1.7 billion for a new resiliency grant program to enhance the resilience of surface transportation infrastructure to hazards and climate change." LINK

According to this information, the claim that the United States spends more on Ukraine than on its own infrastructure is exaggerated but the claim that the U.S. has spent more on Ukraine than the money the U.S. spends on bridges and roads annually is correct.

Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Master (5.0k points)
This is extremely thorough and well-organized so that any reader can follow both your sources and your thought process! I appreciate that you split hairs with the exact claim; it was phrased broadly because I saw people using this tweet to represent all infrastructure, and I think being specific in terminology is very important. Your sources are all official, which lends a lot of credibility to what you have to say. Overall, this is amazing work, both in research and in communication!
by Apprentice (1.2k points)
I appreciate your in-depth analysis of the claim, as well as the formatting you used to make your answer visually-appealing and easy to follow.
by Novice (780 points)
+1
You did an incredible job fact-checking this claim! Your organization of thoughts really helped me follow along with your process. I appreciate that you compared the claim to the US' spending on Roads and Bridges annually. This was a great way to add credibility to your fact-check. This was great!
by Apprentice (1.6k points)
+1
Thank you for your insightful breakdown of Congressman Massie's claim regarding U.S. spending on Ukraine versus its infrastructure to provide background information. Your analysis highlights that while the comparison to total infrastructure spending is exaggerated, the assertion that Ukraine aid exceeds annual road and bridge expenditure is accurate. The details in your fact-check and the way you organized it is very helpful to understand for the audience.  Your use of reputable sources enhances the credibility of your evaluation, providing valuable context and clarification on this complex issue. This is one of the most effective fact checks I've seen on here- great job!
by Apprentice (1.1k points)
+1
You did an excellent job fact-checking the claim that the United States spends more on Ukraine than on its own infrastructure by meticulously gathering and analyzing data from reliable sources. By providing the context of the claim, noting Congressman Thomas Massie's statement and the political background against which it was made. This set a clear stage for understanding the motivation behind the claim and its relevance.
+3 votes
by Apprentice (1.6k points)

This claim is misleading. Thomas Massie claimed that as of May 10, 2022, that Congress had sent more aid money to Ukraine in the 6 months prior than it had allocated for all US roads and bridges in a year. According to Newsweek, for the infrastructure budget of 2021, the historical 3 year average of federal money spent on roads and bridges has been 52.5 billion dollars per year. At the time of Massie’s comment, the US government had sent 13.9 billion dollars to Ukraine, and there was a proposed budget of an additional 40 million, bringing the total to a potential 53.9 billion dollars. Therefore, IF the proposed budget had passed when Massie made his claim, he could have been considered correct. However, according to USAfacts.org, the United States government’s infrastructure and transportation spending was totalled at 131 billion dollars in 2022. The same site also states that about 39% of the US infrastructure budget was spent on highway transportation, and about 28% was spent on rail and mass transit. These two spending categories together represent 67% of the total infrastructure budget in 2022, or 87.8 billion dollars. This figure also does not take into account state and local government spending on infrastructure, which the think tank Urban Institute estimated to be 155 billion dollars in 2019 on highways and road funding. Therefore, Massie’s claim is blatantly misleading. While he may be technically right in the context of one official number related to the federal infrastructure budget, he completely ignores a much greater sum that was also allocated to infrastructure throughout the United States, rendering his line of reasoning false. 

https://usafacts.org/state-of-the-union/transportation-infrastructure/

https://www.cfr.org/article/how-much-aid-has-us-sent-ukraine-here-are-six-charts

https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-did-congress-spend-more-ukraine-us-roads-bridges-1707002

+1 vote
by Novice (740 points)
Representative Thomas Massie pointed out that Congress allocated an amount to Ukraine over six months compared to what was spent on infrastructure like roads and bridges in a year. While this statement holds truth, it overlooks context. In March 2022, the US raised $4.3 billion for air. Had the proposed 39.8 billion aid package been approved, Ukraine's total assistance would have reached $53.4 billion, exceeding spending on road and bridge infrastructure. However, it fails to acknowledge that state and local governments also play a role in funding infrastructure projects, often outspending the government in recent years. Hence, although accurate concerning expenditure, the statement does not present the scope of infrastructure investment in the US.
Exaggerated/ Misleading
by Genius (38.8k points)
+1
Nice work explaining the background and providing a fact-check. Do you have sources to back up your fact-check?
by Novice (920 points)
+1
You provided a really solid in depth analysis of the situation. In order to bolster your credibility, however, it would be valuable to link or cite your sources in order to prove this. It is clear from your post that you went and researched the topic, now just prove it!

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