Ukraine aid spent, Congress is warned

Lawmakers told time running out

The White House issued an urgent warning to Congress on Monday about Ukraine's need for additional aid to help it resist Russia's invasion, with Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young bluntly writing in a letter to congressional leaders that the United States is "out of money to support Ukraine in this fight."

In the letter, Young wrote that "without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks."

"There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money -- and nearly out of time," she added, emphasizing that Congress must decide whether "we continue to fight for freedom across the globe or we ignore the lessons we have learned from history and let [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and autocracy prevail."

A Biden administration request for nearly $106 billion for Ukraine, Israel and other needs remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

The White House has faced difficulty garnering support from Republicans for continued aid to Ukraine, as GOP members of the House and Senate express skepticism over the scale of the funding and how it has been allocated. Republicans have sought to tie the aid negotiations to U.S.-Mexico border policy changes -- an issue on which Congress has failed to take broad-ranging action for decades -- but the talks have yet to yield results, with the Senate expected to depart for the Christmas holiday on Dec. 15.

In a statement responding to Young's letter, House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., argued that the Biden administration has "failed to substantively address" concerns of House Republicans about strategy in Ukraine and "accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers." He also linked the issue to the border.

"House Republicans have resolved that any national security supplemental package must begin with our own border," Johnson's statement said. "We believe both issues can be agreed upon if Senate Democrats and the White House will negotiate reasonably."

At Monday's White House press briefing, national security adviser Jake Sullivan emphasized that Congress is facing a "stark choice" over the funding.

When asked if the administration has an alternative plan in case its proposal is not successful, he said, "Congress has got to provide the funding or the United States cannot continue to support Ukraine. We'll continue to try to rally others to do so."

Sullivan said failing to secure additional funding would undermine U.S. efforts to engage other international coalition members in providing aid to Ukraine.

The Ukraine aid issue has been a continued point of contention in the current Congress. In September, under pressure from House Republicans, lawmakers agreed to strip Ukraine aid from a bill to continue funding the government and avert a shutdown.

The rejection came nine days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy flew to Washington and pleaded with lawmakers to maintain aid.

Zelenskyy said his country's counteroffensive did not achieve its desired goals because allies had not provided hoped-for weapons.

"In the case of Ukraine, if resilience fails today due to lack of aid and shortages of weapons and funding, it will mean that Russia will most likely invade NATO countries," Zelenskyy said in an interview last week with The Associated Press. "And then the American children will fight."

Zelenskyy is also set to address U.S. senators by video today during a classified briefing, according to an announcement by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

Schumer said the administration had invited Zelenskyy to address the senators so they "could hear directly from him precisely what's at stake."

They will also be hearing from the secretaries of the Defense and State departments and other top national security officials.

The Biden administration request includes about $61 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel, roughly $14 billion for immigration priorities and $10 billion for humanitarian aid, as well as more funding to counter China's influence in Asia and the developing world.

Without congressional action to continue the flow of U.S. military equipment and resources to Ukraine, Young wrote, the United States would "kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories."

"Already, our packages of security assistance have become smaller and the deliveries of aid have become more limited," Young wrote.

"If our assistance stops, it will cause significant issues for Ukraine. While our allies around the world have stepped up to do more, U.S. support is critical and cannot be replicated by others."

The White House also argued that the funding would help boost the U.S. industrial base, because old weapons systems would be shipped to Ukraine and replaced by new items built in the United States. Young estimated that nearly half of the president's emergency request would be funneled into manufacturing in the U.S.

"While we cannot predict exactly which U.S. companies will be awarded new contracts, we do know the funding will be used to acquire advanced capabilities to defend against attacks on civilians in Israel and Ukraine -- for example, air defense systems built in Alabama, Texas, and Georgia, and vital subcomponents sourced from nearly all 50 states," Young said.

The administration is expected to further brief lawmakers this week on the consequences of not renewing the funding by the end of the year.

The White House said identical letters were sent to Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Schumer has said he plans to bring up a procedural vote on Biden's national security supplemental request as early as this week. Senate Republicans have threatened to oppose the Biden administration's aid package if it does not include border policy changes.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who is leading ongoing bipartisan negotiations on the issue, told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that he would not support overseas aid without significant border legislation included in the package.

"No. We're going to do this all together," he said.

"It's going to take the administration coming to the table and recognizing that their policy needs to change," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, an Ohio Republican, said Sunday on CBS News's "Face the Nation." "America overwhelmingly wants the southern border addressed. It represents a national security threat."

Lankford said Sunday he still believed it was possible to get a deal on immigration and foreign aid "done by the end of the year."

"People want a legal, orderly process, not the chaos that we currently have on our southern border -- that shouldn't be too tall of an order to be able to fulfill," Lankford said.

Congress has supported $111 billion in supplemental funding to support Ukraine, Young wrote. As of mid-November, she said, the Defense Department had used 97% of the $62.3 billion it received, and the State Department has used 100% of the $4.7 billion in military assistance it received.

As the war in Ukraine grinds on, recent polling from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that close to half of the American public think the United States is spending too much on aid to Ukraine.

A number of recent polls also show that Democrats are becoming more concerned with border security and immigration.

Information for this article was contributed by Maegan Vazquez, Liz Goodwin, Jacob Bogage, Theodoric Meyer and Leigh Ann Caldwell of The Washington Post; by Justin Sink and Eric Wasson of Bloomberg News (TNS); and by Zeke Miller, Lisa Mascaro and Stephen Groves of The Associated Press.

Upcoming Events