AP

White House warns funding for Ukraine is running out

Dec 4, 2023, 4:37 PM | Updated: 4:38 pm

FILE - Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young speaks about the possible government...

FILE - Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young speaks about the possible government shutdown during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 29, 2023. On Monday, Dec. 4, Young sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying that Kyiv's war effort to defend itself from Russia's invasion may grind to a halt without it. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration on Monday sent Congress an urgent warning about the need to approve tens of billions of dollars in military and economic assistance to Ukraine, saying Kyiv’s war effort to defend itself from Russia’s invasion may grind to a halt without it.

In a letter to House and Senate leaders and released publicly, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned the U.S. will run out of funding to send weapons and assistance to Ukraine by the end of the year, saying that would “kneecap” Ukraine on the battlefield.

She added that the U.S. already has run out of money that it has used to prop up Ukraine’s economy, and “if Ukraine’s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting, full stop.”

“We are out of money — and nearly out of time,” she wrote.

Biden will deliver a rare Oval Office address as he seeks billions of dollars for Israel and Ukraine

President Joe Biden has sought a nearly $106 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other needs, but it has faced a difficult reception on Capitol Hill. There is growing skepticism about the magnitude of assistance for Ukraine and even Republicans supportive of the funding are insisting on U.S.-Mexico border policy changes to halt the flow of migrants as a condition for the assistance.

“Congress has to decide whether to continue to support the fight for freedom in Ukraine as part of the 50-nation coalition that President Biden has built, or whether Congress will ignore the lessons we’ve learned from history and let (Russian President Vladimir) Putin prevail,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday. “It is that simple. It is that stark choice, and we hope that Congress on a bipartisan basis will make the right choice.”

But negotiations over the border security package broke down over the weekend as Republicans insisted on provisions Democrats said are draconian, aides said. Talks are expected to resume this week.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that his party is “still at the table.”

Biden is dangling border security money to try to get billions more for Israel and Ukraine

Congress already has allocated $111 billion to assist Ukraine, including $67 billion in military procurement funding, $27 billion for economic and civil assistance and $10 billion for humanitarian aid. Young wrote that all of it, other than about 3% of the military funding, had been depleted by mid-November.

Meanwhile, the GOP-controlled House has passed a standalone assistance package for Israel as it fights the war with Hamas in Gaza, but the White House has maintained that all of the priorities must be met.

The Biden administration has said it has slowed the pace of some military assistance to Kyiv in recent weeks to try to stretch supplies until Congress approves more funding.

“We are out of money to support Ukraine in this fight,” Young wrote. “This isn’t a next year problem. The time to help a democratic Ukraine fight against Russian aggression is right now. It is time for Congress to act.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson reiterated in a statement Monday that House Republicans will insist on border policy changes as part of a Ukraine assistance bill, and he argued Biden has “failed to substantively address any of my conference’s legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers.”

The letter followed a classified Capitol Hill briefing on Nov. 29 for the top House and Senate leaders on the need for the assistance. Defense and other national security officials briefed the “big four” congressional leaders.

“They were clear that Ukraine needs the aid soon — and so does our military need the aid soon,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told The Associated Press in an interview at the time.

Schumer said Monday that both Republicans and Democrats in his chamber agree on funding for Ukraine, as well as Israel, but that the funding has been halted for weeks by GOP demands that border security policy be included in a final package.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said Republicans have pressed for “indefinite detention” of asylum seekers and granting the executive branch power to “shut down” the asylum system, measures that Democrats say go too far.

He is expected to push forward Biden’s supplemental funding package this week, but Republicans are threatening to block its passage with a filibuster as they insist on border security provisions.

___

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Stephen Groves contributed.

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White House warns funding for Ukraine is running out