Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images
The Biden administration is asking Congress for $33 billion in funding to respond to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than double the $14 billion in support authorized so far, senior administration officials told reporters in a briefing Thursday morning ahead of President Biden’s remarks on the additional assistance.
The money is intended to last until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 and provide Ukraine with a more sustained guarantee of support as the war drags on.
“This fight could well last months or more. This conflict will continue to test our unity and our collective resolve to provide Ukraine what it needs to succeed,” a senior administration official said. The official added, “We have every expectation that our partners and allies, particularly those of the G7 as well as many other countries, will continue to provide comparable levels of assistance going forward.”
The bulk of the request is for military and security assistance, a total of $20 billion to provide weapons to Ukraine, replenish U.S. arms stockpiles and help other countries shift away from a dependence on Russian weapons, the officials said.
An additional $8.5 billion is being requested in economic assistance to the Ukrainian government and another $3 billion for humanitarian and food security funding, including supporting refugees from Ukraine and countries who are taking them in.
The officials said they are also requesting funds to address global economic stress due to the war, in part to increase U.S. production of wheat and soy beans, as well as using the Defense Production Act to expand reserves of critical minerals needed in the manufacture of defense machinery, automobiles and more.
Congress will not be able to act immediately to pass the funding as the House is about to leave on a weeklong recess. There have been deliberations about whether to attach the Ukraine funding to COVID aid that the White House has requested and has been stalled.
“It certainly makes sense for them to move together,” an official said, adding that Biden will address the need for both pools of funding in his remarks. Pentagon leaders in recent days have urged Congress to move without delay on the funding, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., indicated to reporters Wednesday he would support moving the Ukraine aid independent of the COVID package if it meant avoiding a delay. The COVID aid has been caught up in disagreements between the parties, including over extending the Title 42 pandemic border controls.
In remarks scheduled for 10:45 a.m. ET, Biden will also address the earlier announcement calling on Congress to pass legislation making it easier to seize assets of Russian oligarchs.