The White House on Tuesday asked Congress to approve $37.7 billion towards additional aid for Ukraine amid Russia’s invasion, a request that comes ahead of both a government funding deadline and the expected flipping of the House to Republican control.
The Biden administration is requesting that Congress authorize $21.7 billion in defense aid to continue providing equipment to Ukraine and replenish Department of Defense stocks. It is also asking for $14.5 billion for direct budget support to Ukraine, critical wartime investments, security assistance and to strengthen global food security and provide humanitarian assistance.
Additionally, $626 million would go to providing nuclear security support for Ukraine and to modernizing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to reduce domestic energy costs and ensure sustainable access to energy resources. And $900 million would go to help with health care and support services to Ukrainians.
The new funding would be “to ensure that Ukraine has the funding, weapons, and support it needs to defend itself,” an administration official told reporters when previewing the request on Tuesday.
It would be on top of the $18 billion the U.S. has provided in military assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February.
The official said that three quarters of the funding to Ukraine that Congress has provided has been already dispersed, and that it was always intended to only last through the end of the year.
Congress, meanwhile, has until Dec. 16 to agree on new funding levels to avert a U.S. government shutdown.
“Staying ahead of COVID-19. Supporting Ukraine’s fight to defend its sovereignty. Helping Americans who have borne the brunt of natural disasters. The American people rightly expect their leaders to come together and deliver on these priorities, and I urge the Congress to address them as part of a comprehensive, bipartisan agreement in the weeks ahead,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday.
The budget request comes as Russia launched missile attacks on Ukrainian towns and cities following Moscow’s retreat from the city of Kherson, a major blow to the Kremlin’s war effort.
Some Republican lawmakers have warned they will scrutinize or even oppose aid to Ukraine with the expected GOP majority in the House starting next year.
The Pentagon said last week that it will fund sending tanks to Ukraine for the first time as part of the latest $400 million military assistance package.
In addition to more funding to aid Ukraine, the White House is asking Congress to provide $9.25 billion in funding for COVID-19 response efforts. The White House also plans to request additional funding for disaster relief but is working over details and to refine estimates, officials said.