The White House submitted a request to Congress for more than $37 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine on Tuesday, as government funding is set to expire in December, according to The Hill.
The ask comes amid Congress’ lame duck session and an expected Republican majority in the House, raising concerns among officials that the new Congress could seek to rein in spending on Ukraine, The Hill reported. The total package includes $21 billion earmarked for military equipment transfers to Ukraine, including weapons pulled directly from existing U.S. stocks through the president’s executive drawdown authority, and restocking the U.S. arsenal.
The White House also requested $14.5 billion in direct budget support for Ukraine, funding security and humanitarian assistance packages, according to The Hill. Additionally, $900 million will support health care for Ukrainian citizens, while $626 million would provide nuclear security support and modernize the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a move the administration hopes will ensure energy availability and reduce costs for consumers.
The funding request aims “to ensure that Ukraine has the funding, weapons, and support it needs to defend itself,” a White House administration official told reporters Tuesday, according to The Hill.
U.S. leaders have pledged to support Ukraine “for the long haul.” However, the White House and Congress face growing opposition from constituencies concerned that support for Ukraine could deepen economic hardship in the U.S., The Washington Post reported after the administration pressured Zelenskyy to signal openness to negotiations.
“Ukraine fatigue is a real thing for some of our partners,” a U.S official told the Post.
Congress authorized a $40 billion spending bill in March. The Biden administration has disbursed roughly three-quarters of that funding to Ukraine, including some of the more than $18 billion in military assistance since Russia’s invasion in February, the official said, according to the Hill.
Congress intended that first package to last through the end of the year, the official said, and has until Dec. 16 to reach an agreement on government spending and avert a shutdown, The Hill reported.
In September, Congress voted in alignment with the Biden administration’s request to include $12 billion for Ukraine in a stopgap funding bill.
The White House’s latest request also includes $9.5 billion in funding for COVID-19 and an unspecified amount of disaster relief funding, according to The Hill.
The request comes amid reports that a Russian projectile struck Poland in a farming area roughly three miles from Ukraine’s border, as Russia fired scores of missiles targeting Ukraine’s energy grid, according to The Associated Press. Ukrainian troops retook a key strategic city last week, but Pentagon officials said they expect the intense fighting to continue as winter sets in.
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