Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have urged Congress to pass additional funding for Ukraine aid by May 19 as President Biden is close to exhausting funds that allow him to send weapons to Kyiv.
Austin and Blinken told House and Senate leadership in a letter obtained by The Hill that the administration needs more money by May 19 “if we are to continue are [sic] security assistance at the current pace.”
As part of a $13.6 billion Ukraine aid package passed in March, $3.5 billion went towards a presidential drawdown authority, enabling Biden to send arms from US military stockpiles. Biden recently signed off on a $150 million arms package for Ukraine and has about $100 million left from the drawdown funds.
“In short, we need your help. The ability to draw upon existing DoD stocks has been a critical tool in our efforts to support the Ukrainians in their fight against Russian aggression, allowing us to quickly source equipment and ensure a sustained flow of security assistance to Ukraine,” Blinken and Austin wrote.
Biden had asked Congress for a whopping $33 billion in new Ukraine aid, but congressional Democrats have drafted a plan that increases the funds to $39.8 billion, including $23.8 billion for military assistance.
The House approved the Ukraine aid on Tuesday night in a vote of 368-57, and it now heads to the Senate.