Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday called on Congress to approve President Biden’s request for an additional $24 billion in spending on the Ukraine war “right away.”
The White House formally made the request to Congress last week. If approved, it will bring total US spending on the war to about $137 billion. “I urge Congress to pass this legislation funding — the supplemental funding, excuse me — right away,” Blinken told reporters.
Supplemental funding is not limited by the debt ceiling deal that was reached between the White House and House Republicans. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has previously expressed that he might not support a supplemental funding bill that would blow past the spending limits, but he has been a staunch supporter of the proxy war against Russia.
Over in the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is eager to approve the new Ukraine aid, saying he wants to address it “as quickly as possible.” The White House asked for the $24 billion in Ukraine spending as part of a $40 billion supplemental bill that also includes domestic disaster relief and funds for border security.
The $24 billion for the Ukraine war includes $13 billion in military aid, $7.3 billion in economic and humanitarian assistance, and $3.3 billion for infrastructure projects for regional countries impacted by the conflict.
The infrastructure funds were included in the name of countering China. “It is essential that we offer a credible alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) coercive and unstable lending and infrastructure projects for developing countries around the world,” Shalanda Young, director of the US Office of Management and Budget, said in a letter to McCarthy on the request.
The request came after a CNN poll found 55% of Americans are opposed to Congress authorizing more spending on the war in Ukraine. Biden administration officials are not phased by the lessening support and have made clear they expect to be fueling the proxy war for the long term.
“We don’t know how much longer this war is going to go on, or how much more assistance we might need to support Ukraine,” a senior administration official told reporters last week. “We won’t be bashful about going back to Congress beyond the first quarter of next year if we feel like we need to do that.”