Trump Administration Notifies Congress of Plan to Use $5 Million in U.S. Taxpayer Funds to Send Hundreds of Ventilators to Russia

May 22, 2020
Press Release
House Chairs Send Letter Objecting to Gift to Putin While Ventilators Are Urgently Needed in United States

Washington, D.C. (May 22, 2020)—Today, top House Committee Chairs sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump after the Administration sent a formal notification this week informing Congress that he plans to gift hundreds of ventilators and other supplies to Russia that will cost the American taxpayers $5.6 million—despite urgent needs here in the United States.


The letter was signed by Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot E. Engel, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Chairman James E. Clyburn, and Oversight and Reform National Security Subcommittee Chairman Stephen F. Lynch.


“We are deeply concerned with recent reports that you are providing critical, life-saving ventilators to Russia when they are urgently needed here in the United States to combat the coronavirus crisis and save American lives,” the Chairs wrote.  “The United States has had more coronavirus cases and more deaths as a result of the virus than any nation on Earth.  In fact, the United States has had more coronavirus deaths than the next several highest countries combined.”


This week, the Administration submitted a notification to Congress stating that President Trump’s gift to President Putin of “ventilators and related commodities and consumables” will cost the American taxpayers $5.6 million.  He is making this commitment despite Russia’s nearly $1.7 trillion gross domestic product, and the Administration is utilizing extraordinary authorities to overcome the myriad of restrictions Congress has placed on providing U.S. funding to Russia.


The United States currently has a maximum of approximately 160,000 ventilators available for use, and according to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, “No matter which estimate we use, there are not enough ventilators for patients with Covid-19 in the upcoming months.”


“Instead, it appears you may be providing or selling ventilators to other countries as gifts or favors to serve your own political or personal interests without any meaningful strategic justification, thorough interagency process, or policy rationale for doing so,” the Chairs wrote.  


Click here to read today’s letter.


116th Congress