To support Ukraine.. The Biden administration is asking Congress for $13 billion
The administration of US President Joe Biden 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 sum as the Russian invasion continues and pushes Ukraine to counterattack against the Kremlin forces entrenched in the country. .
The package also includes $12 billion to replenish US federal funds for disaster response after a deadly weather season caused by heat and storms, and money to beef up security on the southern border with Mexico, including money to curb the lethal flow of fentanyl, a combined package worth $40 billion.
And while the last supplemental spending request from the White House to fund Ukraine in 2022 was easily approved despite Republican reservations, there is a different dynamic this time around.
Political division over the issue
The political divide over the issue has grown rapidly, with the Republican-led House of Representatives facing enormous pressure to show support for party leader Donald Trump, who has been deeply skeptical of the war amid declining US support for the war there.
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, especially as increased domestic funding on border issues is a top priority for the Republican Party.
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 spending.
As a supplementary request, the package the White House is sending Congress falls outside the budget caps the two sides agreed to as part of the debt-ceiling standoff earlier this year.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer 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 fellow Republicans this fall to avoid unnecessary government shutdowns and fund this critical emergency supplemental request.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, an advocate of supporting Ukraine, was more subdued, saying in a statement: “I look forward to carefully reviewing the administration’s request to ensure that it is necessary and appropriate to keep America safe, secure our borders, support our allies, and help communities rebuild.” after disasters.”
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.
“War without apparent end”
President Joe Biden and his senior national security team have said repeatedly that the United States will help Ukraine “for as long as it takes” to drive Russia out of its borders.
Privately, administration officials have warned Ukrainian officials that there is a limit to the patience of a sharply divided Congress and the American public over the costs of a war with no apparent end.
According to the Associated Press, support among the American public for providing arms and direct economic assistance to Ukraine has waned over time.
A poll conducted by the agency in January 2023, about a year into the conflict, found that 48 percent favored the United States providing weapons to Ukraine, down from 60 percent of American adults who were in favor of sending weapons to Ukraine in May 2022.
And while Democrats were generally more supportive of Ukraine than Republicans, their support fell slightly from 71% to 63% in the same period, and Republican support fell more than 53% to 39%.
Dozens of House Republicans and some Republican senators have expressed reservations and even voted against spending more federal dollars on Ukraine’s 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 of the new request.