US President Joe Biden is reportedly considering a massive Ukraine aid request that would be so substantial, he wouldn’t need to seek further funding approvals from Congress until after the 2024 election. The proposal, which could be as large as $100 billion, aims to prevent legislative controversies that could hinder Biden’s re-election campaign. This potential aid request far surpasses the $24 billion funding that was removed from the stopgap spending bill passed by US House lawmakers last week to avoid a government shutdown.
According to sources familiar with White House discussions, many within the Biden administration strongly support the idea of a large aid package for Ukraine that would address the country’s needs in a comprehensive manner. They believe that a substantial one-time bill would eliminate the need for further funding until after the upcoming election. The urgency to secure funding arises from the administration’s commitment to ensuring that money and weapons continue to flow into Ukraine to support its fight against Russian forces until a major aid bill is passed by Congress. One option being explored is tapping into a US State Department grant program to provide approximately $650 million in funding.
The White House officials warn that there are only a few weeks remaining before a possible lapse in Ukraine funding, which they claim would have devastating consequences on the battlefield. The Biden administration is determined to avoid any interruption in aid to Ukraine and is actively working to find temporary solutions. The concern for maintaining consistent support to Ukraine stems from growing Republican criticism regarding Biden’s policy towards the country. Some Republicans argue that excessive aid to Ukraine only prolongs the bloody conflict, diverting attention and resources away from more pressing domestic matters.
The recent removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his leadership post, the first such congressional ouster in US history, is believed to be linked to promises he allegedly made to President Biden regarding a separate Ukraine aid bill. McCarthy reportedly assured Biden that the bill would be approved after the stopgap funding measure was passed. The Biden administration intends to decide on proposing a one-and-done aid package for Ukraine after a new House speaker is elected, possibly next week. However, passing a $100 billion bill may require the president to make concessions to conservative Republicans on issues such as illegal immigration.
One vocal Republican critic of Biden’s Ukraine policy, US Representative Lauren Boebert, suggested that the new House speaker may need to pledge opposition to further funding for Ukraine. Boebert noted that a majority of Republicans in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted against a $300 million Ukraine aid bill last week. She emphasized the need for the speakership to acknowledge the lack of support for Ukraine funding within their party, stressing that Republicans are tired of spending on Ukrainian aid alone.
It is worth mentioning that Congress has already approved four rounds of Ukraine funding, totaling approximately $113 billion. However, the Pentagon recently alerted that it has nearly exhausted all available security-assistance funding for Ukraine. Given the increasing tensions with Russia and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, securing adequate and timely funding has become a critical priority for the Biden administration in its efforts to support Ukraine.
In conclusion, President Biden is considering a substantial one-and-done aid package for Ukraine that would eliminate the need for additional funding until after the 2024 election. The proposed $100 billion aid request aims to avoid legislative controversies that could impede Biden’s re-election campaign. The Biden administration is urgently working to find temporary funding solutions to ensure uninterrupted support to Ukraine amidst growing Republican criticism. The decision on the aid package will be made after a new House speaker is elected. Congress has already approved significant funding for Ukraine, but further support is needed given the ongoing conflict and strained relations with Russia.