The Biden administration alerted Congress Monday that funding to assist Ukraine in its war with Russia will run out by the end of this year as negotiators reach an impasse over future military and humanitarian aid — despite recently published research showing around 90% of the money spent never leaves US shores.
A Nov. 29 report by the American Enterprise Institute found that approximately $60 billion of the $68 billion in military and other assistance approved by Congress since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, has stayed in the United States to build new weapons for US forces, replacing older equipment sent to assist Kyiv.
Those weapons and other materiel, AEI found, are being manufactured in states like Florida, Ohio, and Missouri — where lawmakers like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have either expressed skepticism about or outright opposed further spending on Ukraine.
Congress has hit an impasse amid negotiations to pass further US military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and to replenish domestic stockpiles. AP
NY Post composite
That political reality was not lost on White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young, who made clear in a Monday letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) that both staunch Republican and politically tenuous swing states stood to benefit from further largesse.
“While we cannot predict exactly which US companies will be awarded new contracts,” she wrote, “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.
“We will modernize vital munitions and equipment like Javelins made in Alabama; Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) made in West Virginia, Arkansas and Texas; tactical vehicles made in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana; and 155mm artillery shells made in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Iowa and many other states.”
President Biden in October proposed the $105 billion package, which would provide funding for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but Republicans said its border security provisions were weak. AP
In all, Young wrote, roughly half of the proposed spending package — more than $50 billion — will be sent to America’s defense industrial base, supporting investments in manufacturing across 35 states.
With four weeks left in 2023, senior White House officials are stressing the importance of renewing funding for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops as the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion nears in February.
On Monday, Young warned Johnson that Congress’ approach to President Biden’s $105 billion supplemental request would determine whether the US would “fight for freedom across the globe or … ignore the lessons we have learned from history and let [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and autocracy prevail.”
With four weeks left of 2024, senior Biden administration officials are stressing the importance of renewing funding for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s troops next year. AP
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) have agreed that further military assistance for Kyiv’s war effort is needed. REUTERS
“I want to be clear: 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 US military stocks,” she added. “There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money—and nearly out of time.”
Young’s letter indicated that that $67 billion, or 60% of the already appropriated funds, had “bolstered” US defense and weapons stockpiles, while another $27.2 billion, or 24%, assisted Ukraine’s economy and security in response to Russian attacks on exports.
The current aid system represents a win-win for both the US and Ukraine, senior defense officials tell The Post, as Kyiv swiftly gets the weapons it needs and Washington stocks up on the latest versions of weaponry in preparation for future conflict.
The letter notes that $67 billion, or 60%, of the already appropriated funds “bolstered” US defense and weapons stockpiles, whereas $27.2 billion, or 24%, assisted Ukraine’s economy and security. AFP via Getty Images
Another $2.3 billion in emergency funding from the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported humanitarian issues. REUTERS
Currently, just 3% of the total funds received by the Pentagon are still available. Nearly all of the $2.3 billion in emergency monies given to the State Department and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — including $500 million specifically for Ukrainian refugees –has also been used.
President Biden in October proposed the package to provide assistance for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, but congressional Republicans have insisted on including provisions to bolster US border security, over Democratic objections.
“Over 10,200 people illegally crossed the border just yesterday, one of the highest days in history and absolutely unprecedented for December,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a chief GOP negotiator on the legislation, said on X Sunday morning.
The last tranche of funding “supported needs of vulnerable populations around the world who have been made victims by Putin’s use of food as a weapon,” according to Young. UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/AFP via Getty Images
“We continue to work to find a solution that will protect our national security, stop the human trafficking and prevent the cartels from exploiting the obvious loopholes in our law. That is the goal & we will continue to work until we get it right.”
Johnson said in a Monday statement that the Biden administration had thus far “failed to substantively address any of my conference’s legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers.”
“Meanwhile, the Administration is continually ignoring the catastrophe at our own border,” he also said. “House Republicans have resolved that any national security supplemental package must begin with our own border. We believe both issues can be agreed upon if Senate Democrats and the White House will negotiate reasonably.”
Johnson said the Biden administration had thus far “failed to substantively address any of my conference’s legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers.” AFP via Getty Images
The House speaker separately passed $14.3 billion last month in military assistance to support Israel’s war effort against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, but the bill has yet to be picked up in the Senate.
The $61.4 billion the White House requested for Ukrainian aid was “not some pie-in-the-sky wish list,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stressed to reporters Friday, but rather a “dollar figure derived from a informed consultation with our Ukrainian partners about what they need, and we need that assistance immediately so that we can provide them assistance in an interrupted way.”
The Pentagon last month began cutting back its spending on Ukraine, reducing both the pace and amounts in the aid packages.
The House speaker separately passed $14.3 billion in Israel military assistance to support the Jewish state’s war effort against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, which hasn’t advanced in the Senate. AFP via Getty Images
“You’ve already seen the security packages getting smaller in the last month or so because again, we’re running out of runway and we’re running out of checks in the checkbook,” Kirby said last week. “We’ve got to be able to keep the aid going.”
The administration assesses that continued funding is critical to defeating Russia, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last month told Congress that “if the US does not continue to support Ukraine, they will not succeed.”
“If we don’t get that support from Congress, the message it’s going to send around the world about how much Ukraine matters – and how much the United States and our leadership can deliver for our partners around the world – is going to be loud and clear and deeply unfortunate,” Kirby said.
“I can’t see anybody in this country, no matter who you vote for, no matter what party you represent, that can sit back at night and think that that’s a good thing to do, to let Putin think you can just get away with this … because we aren’t willing to come together and support a partner who is literally fighting for their lives.”