Biden is asking Congress for $40 billion to support Ukraine, replenish US disaster aid, and strengthen borders
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has asked Congress to provide more than $13 billion in emergency defense aid to Ukraine and an additional $8 billion in humanitarian support through the end of the year, another huge infusion of cash. Russian invasion Worn and paid Ukraine counterattack against the entrenched forces of the Kremlin.
The package requested Thursday includes $12 billion to replenish US federal funds for disaster relief at home after a deadly weather season of heat and storms, and money to strengthen enforcement at the southern border with Mexico, including money to curb the flow of deadly fentanyl. Finally, it’s a $40 billion package.
while Last such supplementary expenditure request White House funding for Ukraine was easily approved in 2022 despite reservations from Republicans. There is a different dynamic this time around.
The political divide over the issue has grown steadily, with the Republican-led House of Representatives facing enormous pressure to show support for the party’s leader, Donald Trump, who has been deeply skeptical of the war. American support for the effort was slowly waning.
White House budget director Shalanda Young, in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, urged swift action to follow through on the US commitment to “the Ukrainian people’s defense of their homeland and democracy around the world” as well as other needs.
The request was drafted with the goal of garnering support from Republicans, as well as Democrats, particularly as domestic funding increases around border issues — a top priority for the GOP. Republicans have been highly critical of the Biden administration’s approach to stemming the flow of migrants crossing from Mexico.
Still, the $40 billion price tag could be too much for Republicans fighting to cut, not increase, federal expenditures. As a supplemental request, the package the White House is sending Congress falls outside the budget caps that both sides agreed to as part of a debt-ceiling standoff earlier this year.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said in a statement that there is strong bipartisan support in the US Senate.
“The latest request from the Biden administration demonstrates America’s continued commitment to helping Americans here at home and our friends abroad,” he said. “We hope to join our Republican colleagues this fall to avoid an unnecessary government shutdown and fund this critical emergency supplemental request.”
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has championed support for Ukraine, has been more subdued.
“I look forward to carefully reviewing the administration’s request to ensure it is necessary and appropriate, to keep America safe, secure our borders, support our allies, and help communities rebuild after disasters,” McConnell said in a statement.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio issued a statement urging Congress to quickly pass necessary funding for disaster relief programs while separately considering military assistance to Ukraine.
President Joe Biden and his senior national security team have said repeatedly that the United States will help Ukraine “whatever it costs” to expel Russia from its borders. Privately, administration officials have warned Ukrainian officials that there is a limit to the patience of a narrowly divided Congress — and the American public — over the costs of a war with no apparent end.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby said this week.
Support among the American public for Supplying weapons to Ukraine Direct economic aid has declined over time. An AP-NORC poll conducted in January 2023 about one year into the conflict found that 48% favored the United States providing arms to Ukraine, down from the 60% of American adults who were in favor of sending weapons to Ukraine in May 2022. While Democrats were generally more Support from Republicans for the gun show, their support dropped slightly from 71% to 63% in the same period. Republican support fell more than 53% to 39%.
Dozens of House Republicans and some Republican senators expressed reservations and even voted against spending more federal dollars on the war effort. Many of these Republicans support Trump’s objections to US involvement abroad.
This means that any final vote on Ukraine aid will likely need to rely on a massive coalition led by Biden’s Democrats to secure approval.
The funding includes money to counter Russian and Chinese influence elsewhere by strengthening the World Bank and providing aid to resist Russia-allied Wagner forces in Africa. Domestically, there is an additional $60 million to address the growing wildfires raging across the country. The request includes $4 billion for the southern border, including $2.2 billion for border management and $766 million to stem the flow of fentanyl and provide preventive and recovery support. And $100 million has been allocated to the Department of Labor to step up investigations into suspected child labor abuses.
To facilitate approval, Congress will likely try to attach the package to a measure that must be passed for broader US government funding that it needs by Oct. 1 to prevent any shutdowns in federal offices.
Members of Congress have repeatedly pressed Defense Department leaders about how closely the United States should track its aid to Ukraine to ensure it is not defrauded or ends up in the wrong hands. The Pentagon said it has a “robust program” to track the aid as it crosses the border into Ukraine and monitor it once it arrives, depending on the sensitivity of each weapons system.
Ukraine rushes through Its continuous counterattackin an attempt to dislodge Kremlin forces from the lands they have occupied since the all-out invasion in February 2022. The counterattack encountered heavily mined terrain and strengthened defensive fortifications.
The United States agreed Four rounds of aid to Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion, totaling about $113 billion, with some of that money going to replenish U.S. military equipment sent to the front lines. Congress He agreed to the latest round of aid In December, it totaled about $45 billion to Ukraine and NATO allies. While the package is designed to run through the end of the fiscal year in September, much depends on events on the ground.
“We remain confident that we will be able to continue to support Ukraine for as long as possible,” said the Pentagon press secretary, Brig. Gen. Pat Rider.
There were questions in November about waning Republican support for approval of the package, but it eventually passed. Now, though, House Speaker McCarthy faces pressure to impeach Biden over unsubstantiated allegations of financial misconduct, and it’s not clear whether an offer of rapid support to Ukraine could cause political damage in what is expected to be the 2024 re-election campaign.
Trump claims that the US intervention has brought Russia closer to other hostile states such as China, and has condemned the tens of billions of dollars the US has given in aid to Ukraine.
I reported a long time ago from Chicago.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com