President Joe Biden has already delivered several billion in taxpayer dollars in assistance to Ukraine, both before and after the Russian invasion began, but that has been insufficient in the president’s view.
Biden is now demanding that Congress provide him with roughly $33 billion more in supplemental funding that he can use to provide further assistance to Ukraine amid its ongoing fight against Russia, Fox News reported.
The outlet noted that this request from Biden comes after he already gave $1.6 billion to Ukraine this month alone in a pair of $800 million disbursements, which followed approximately $1 billion in aid that was delivered in March, which in turn was on top of even more taxpayer-funded aid that had been provided before the start of the invasion in February.
Biden demands Congress provide more funding for Ukraine
“The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” President Biden said in a speech Thursday at the White House. “We either back the Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in Ukraine.”
“So, we need to contribute arms, funding, ammunition, and the economic support to make their courage and sacrifice have purpose so they can continue this fight and do what they’re doing,” he continued. “It’s critical this funding gets approved and approved as quickly as possible.”
Biden went on to accuse Russia of being the sole aggressor in the current conflict and of lying about atrocities they are alleged to have committed while insisting that Russia and its leaders and wealthy oligarchs be held accountable for what has occurred.
He also suggested that the economic and military assistance that had already been provided had played an integral role in Ukraine being able to rebuff the attempted siege by Russia of the capital city of Kyiv, but noted that more still needed to be done.
The president also noted that the prior assistance delivered to Ukraine had nearly depleted a pool of discretionary funding previously made available to him, known as “drawdown authority,” and lamented, “Basically, we’re out of money. And so, that’s why today, to sustain Ukraine as it — as it continues to fight, I’m sending Congress a supplemental budget request.”
Biden also noted later in his speech that he was also asking for an additional $22.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress for the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning he has now demanded an extra $55 billion in taxpayer money above and beyond what had previously been appropriated and budgeted for the current fiscal year.
Military, economic, and humanitarian assistance for the next five months
According to a White House “fact sheet” on the supplemental funding request to Congress, of the roughly $33 billion requested, approximately $20 billion would go toward direct military assistance in the form of ammunition, equipment, and weapons systems, though $5 billion of that would be reserved to replenish Biden’s discretionary “drawdown authority” pool.
Another $8.5 billion of the total would be in the form of economic and financial assistance to Ukraine to keep its government operational and help it provide necessary services to its people. Still, another $3 billion would go toward humanitarian aid for refugees and other nations facing negative impacts due to the ongoing war and sanctions against Russia.
In a background call with the press before Biden’s speech, an unnamed “senior administration official” explained that the $33 billion request was “what we believe is needed to enable Ukraine’s success over the next five months of this war,” suggesting that, if the request is approved, no additional funding will be needed for the foreseeable future, but we’ll have to wait and see if that is actually the case.