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White House warns Congress that inaction on aid will 'kneecap' Ukraine

Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young told leaders in Congress that the administration is "out of money — and nearly out of time."
President Biden Welcomes President Of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky To The White House
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President Joe Biden at the White House in December 2022.Alex Wong / Getty Images file

The White House on Monday warned leaders in Congress that the administration will run out of resources to provide aid to Ukraine in its war against Russia unless Congress takes action by the end of the year.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young stressed the United States is “out of money — and nearly out of time” to provide weapons and equipment to Ukraine.

“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 U.S. military stocks,” Young wrote. “There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment.”

She warned that the lack of aid would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”

“Already, our packages of security assistance have become smaller and the deliveries of aid have become more limited,” she wrote. “If our assistance stops, it will cause significant issues for Ukraine. While our allies around the world have stepped up to do more, U.S. support is critical and cannot be replicated by others.”

Young urged Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s supplemental spending request, arguing that aid to Ukraine is key to advancing national security interests.

“I must stress that helping Ukraine defend itself and secure its future as a sovereign, democratic, independent, and prosperous nation advances our national security interests,” she wrote. “It prevents larger conflict in the region that could involve NATO and put U.S. forces in harm’s way and deters future aggression, making us all safer.”

“As President Biden has said, when dictators do not pay a price for their aggression, they will cause more chaos and death and destruction. They just keep on going, and the cost and the threats to America and to the world will keep rising,” she added. “The path that Congress chooses will reverberate for many years to come.”

Young addressed the letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Young’s letter comes as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are deadlocked over approving U.S. aid to Israel and Ukraine. Republicans seek to condition foreign aid on the enactment of tougher U.S. policy surrounding migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border.

Johnson pushed back at Young’s letter Monday morning on X, saying Republicans won’t budge on their calls to condition aid to Ukraine on changes in U.S. border enforcement and asylum laws.

“The Biden administration has 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,” he wrote.

“Meanwhile, the Administration is continually ignoring the catastrophe at our own border,” he added. “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.”

Schumer told colleagues last week that he plans to bring the president’s national security supplemental package to the floor “as soon as the week of December 4th.”

“The biggest holdup to the national security assistance package right now is the insistence by our Republican colleagues on partisan border policy as a condition for vital Ukraine aid. This has injected a decades old, hyper-partisan issue into overwhelmingly bipartisan priorities,” Schumer wrote in a letter to other senators. “Democrats stand ready to work on common-sense solutions to address immigration, but purely partisan hard-right demands, like those in H.R. 2, jeopardize the entire national security supplemental package.”