• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Deadline nears as Congress continues negotiations

Deadline nears as Congress continues negotiations

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill rebuffed ongoing pleas by the administration to include new assistance for Ukraine in a stopgap funding measure, deeply disappointing many supporters of Kyiv and leaving the future of US support for the country uncertain.

A top official from the Pentagon told lawmakers on Friday the Department of Defense “has exhausted nearly all available security assistance funding for Ukraine,” offering stark warnings about the battlefield effects of failing to pass new assistance. 

Officials from the administration argued to lawmakers on Friday and Saturday that continued funding for Ukraine was necessary both for operational purposes on the battlefield and as a show of support to US allies.

But ultimately, the continuing resolution that passed the House contained no new funding for Ukraine, amid opposition from some hardline Republicans. The failure to pass new Ukraine funding came only a matter of days after Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky personally appealed for continued US support on Capitol Hill and after President Joe Biden and top aides voiced confidence that new funding would be approved. 

After the stopgap measure without Ukraine aid passed the House on Saturday afternoon, a White House official called on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to quickly bring new Ukraine funding up for a vote in the House. Biden has requested $24 billion in additional Ukraine funding.

“We fully expect Speaker McCarthy—who has stated his support for funding to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s illegal and unjustified war of aggression—will bring a separate bill to the floor shortly,” the official said.

Lawmakers also said they expected new Ukraine funding to be forthcoming.

“I want to be clear to our Ukrainian allies: we are unwavering in our support for your defense against the Russian invasion, and we will deliver on that commitment,” Rep. Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat, said. “There are those in Congress who would deny Ukraine the assistance required to win this war, but those of us who stand with our Ukrainian allies vastly outnumber them. We have defeated them before and we will again, to deliver the aid Ukraine needs and deserves.”

Still, the failure to pass new funding amounted to a disappointment for supporters of Kyiv, and some administration officials privately said they feared it could demonstrate weakness in the face of Russian aggression.

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