Biden Asks Congress for Over $37 Billion Emergency Aid to Ukraine

Biden Asks Congress for Over $37 Billion Emergency Aid to Ukraine

Date:

The Biden administration has asked for a total of $37.7 billion in additional emergency aid to Ukraine to support the nation as their defense against a Russian invasion drags on during its 9th month. This comes after heavy battlefield casualties were reported for both sides, with a recent U.S. assessment attributing 100,000 casualties to both Russia and Ukraine. In addition to the sizable Russian withdrawal from the western bank of the Dnieper River and the Ukrainian city of Kherson. The proposed Ukraine aid includes $21.7 billion for military, intelligence, and other defense support, $14.5 billion in humanitarian relief, $900 million for health care and support services for Ukrainians living in the United States, and $626 million for economic development and for modernizing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Tens of thousands of missiles and rockets for air defense and anti-armor systems, more than 84 million rounds of ammunition, drones, tanks, trucks, radars, body armor, and other equipment have previously been provided as part of US help to Ukraine in the past.

In addition, $9.25 billion in COVID funding is requested in this financial proposal to enable nationwide medical assistance and prepare for a potential winter spike. The coronavirus funding request is considerably lower than the previous request of $22 billion, which reflects in part the changing nature of the virus and the continued effort to combat it, but also the reluctance among Republicans in Congress to continue to fund COVID-19 efforts. The request includes $2.5 billion for vaccines and therapeutics, $5 billion to support development of new vaccines, $750 million to support research into long COVID and $1 billion to combat the virus internationally. The request also includes $400 million in funding for smallpox vaccines used for monkeypox response, and $350 million for hepatitis C and to help prevent HIV. A request for additional disaster relief funding should come soon but isn’t yet finalized, White House officials said.

Both funding requests would be included in the government package to help fund operations until 2023, in late September. U.S. government funding will expire in the middle of December.

Additionally, the GOP, the administration’s main adversary, is aimed to seize control of the House after the midterm elections. Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the House Republicans and the likely future speaker, has warned that his party will not approve a “blank check” to Ukraine. More than three-fourths of the $40 billion allocated by Congress earlier this year for Ukraine, according to Shalanda Young, head of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

U.S. help has been primarily concentrated on air defense systems, a steady supply of ammunition, and now cold weather apparel for winter. Ukrainian forces have received assistance throughout their counteroffensive operations in the South and East with support AD systems as well as the supply of ammunition to already deployed systems. Widespread blackouts in Ukraine are being caused by Russian airstrikes that target civilian infrastructure, including power networks. The attacks appear aimed at leaving Ukrainian civilians in the cold and dark as winter approaches. Biden sought $13.7 billion in emergency funding in September, and signed a bill that authorized roughly $12 billion and kept the government funded.

Gregory Meeks, D-New York, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, stated that the new emergency request was urgent in order to “ensure that we get them everything that we can possibly get into the omnibus so that they have the weapons to continue the momentum moving through the winter.” He voiced worry that due to GOP control of the House, financing for Ukraine would be threatened. “I would hope that their leadership will pull them in line if they do take over,” he continued, “so that we can protect democracy and not enable Russia to prevail.”

SourceAP
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