As the budget showdown looms and Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden has put forth a request for additional spending totaling approximately $40 billion. The majority of these funds are aimed at supporting Ukraine, making it the first appeal for supplemental aid from the Biden administration since Republicans gained control of the House of Representatives earlier this year.
The main objective of the supplementary assistance is to provide aid to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion. Out of the total amount, $24 billion is designated specifically for Ukraine and other nations affected by the conflict. Despite bipartisan support for assisting Ukraine, there is opposition from some far-right Republicans who have influence in the House due to their narrow majority.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican, has expressed his opposition to providing further aid to Ukraine and suggested that any additional funding should come from the discretionary spending of the Pentagon during the annual appropriations process. In response, the White House budget director, Shalanda Young, wrote a letter urging McCarthy to uphold America’s commitment to Ukraine’s defense and democracy.
The breakdown of the spending request includes $13 billion in emergency defense aid for Ukraine and an additional $8 billion for humanitarian support until the end of the year. The situation on the ground for Ukrainian forces remains challenging, as they face heavily mined terrain and fortified defensive structures.
Previously, the US has authorized approximately $113 billion in aid for Ukraine in response to Russia’s invasion, a portion of which was used to replenish military equipment sent to the conflict zone. In December, Congress approved around $45 billion for Ukraine and NATO allies.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has expressed support for Biden’s request for funding, indicating that the Democrat-led Senate will back it. Schumer emphasized the US commitment to assisting allies and safeguarding global democracy.
Aside from the allocation for Ukraine, Biden’s request also includes $4 billion for border security and $12 billion to replenish federal disaster funds. Given the exacerbation of heatwaves, storms, and wildfires due to climate change, addressing federal disaster funds is deemed crucial. Additionally, $416 million is designated to combat the illegal fentanyl trade.
While US legislators are currently on August recess, a budget standoff is expected upon their return. The deadline for passing spending bills for government agencies is October 1, which marks the beginning of the new fiscal year. Alternatively, a temporary measure may be enacted to sustain agency operations until a comprehensive agreement is reached.