The ongoing political gridlock in Washington has led to a delay in sending military aid to Ukraine, according to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The delay is a result of the refusal by Republicans in Congress to pass President Joe Biden’s proposed omnibus funding bill, which includes aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, among other things.
The White House had requested a $106 billion supplemental funding bill from Congress last month, but the Republican-majority House has only passed a $14 billion bill for aid to Israel. This bill was subsequently blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate. As a result, the funds needed to support Ukraine are running low.
Sullivan expressed concern about the impact of the delay, stating, “This is already affecting our ability to give Ukraine what they need, and this effect will only get worse.” The White House has been vocal about the dwindling funds for Ukraine, with USAID informing Congress that its budget for Kiev had run dry.
In addition, the Pentagon announced that it had only $1 billion left in congressionally approved funding for Ukraine. The situation has raised alarms among US officials, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warning that without continued US funding, Russia will become stronger.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “If the US does not send more money, we will lose.” Despite these concerns, the political deadlock in Washington has hindered the disbursement of aid to Ukraine.
President Biden has pledged to continue funding Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia, but the ongoing political standoff has made it difficult to fulfill this promise. The conflict in Ukraine has been ongoing since Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring state in February 2022, and the US has provided significant financial assistance to Ukraine during this time.
The recent change in House leadership, with Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly being ousted over a secret Ukraine funding deal with the White House, has further complicated the situation. The outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war has also diverted the attention of the US public and politicians away from the Ukraine issue.
The new House Speaker, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, has proposed passing several different bills to avert a government shutdown, but there is no mention of any funds allocated to Ukraine in his proposal. As a result, the political deadlock persists, and the urgency of providing aid to Ukraine continues to mount.
The failure to pass the omnibus funding bill has not only impacted Ukraine but also jeopardized aid to Israel and Taiwan, as well as other critical funding priorities. As the situation unfolds, the US government is facing increasing pressure to resolve the political impasse and ensure that vital aid reaches Ukraine in a timely manner.