White House warns it will run out of money for Ukraine unless Congress acts by end of year

The White House on Monday sounded the alarm that it will run out of money to provide weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russia without congressional action by the end of the year.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young wrote the government is “out of money—and nearly out of time” to continue giving aid to Ukraine. The White House pleaded with Congress to act on a supplemental funding request first submitted in October, arguing it is of critical importance to U.S. national security.

“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. There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money—and nearly out of time,” Young wrote.

“We are out of money to support Ukraine in this fight. This isn’t a next year problem,” she added. “The time to help a democratic Ukraine fight against Russian aggression is right now. It is time for Congress to act.”

The letter was addressed to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Young laid out in detail how the government has already run through the roughly $111 billion previously appropriated for Ukraine aid.

The Pentagon had used 97 percent of the $62.3 billion it received as of mid-November, Young wrote. The State Department has used all of the $4.7 billion in military assistance it received, which included funds for humanitarian assistance and economic and civilian security assistance. 

Young warned a failure to provide additional funding and support would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”

Young wrote that roughly 60 percent of the money approved to support Ukraine has bolstered the United States’ defense industrial base, which has benefitted domestic companies as America manufactures additional weaponry for the Ukrainians and fills its own stockpiles.

By approving the White House’s supplemental request, Young wrote, Congress would direct another $50 billion into the nation’s defense industrial base.

The White House in late October sent an emergency funding request of roughly $100 billion to Congress seeking additional money for border security, allies in the Indo-Pacific and for Israel and Ukraine in their respective conflicts against Hamas and Russia.

Roughly $61 billion of that request covered money for Ukraine, which included $30 billion in equipment for Ukraine from Department of Defense stocks and to backfill those stocks.

The White House has for weeks pleaded with Congress to take action on its supplemental request, arguing that a failure to do so would jeopardize Ukraine’s progress in its fight against Russia, particularly heading into the difficult winter months.

President Biden has made the case to the American public that Ukraine’s fight has ramifications domestically. He has asserted that while the conflict may seem far away, a Russian victory would have grave consequences for democracies worldwide and could ultimately draw the United States into a larger conflict.

The White House has run into opposition in the Republican controlled House, where some lawmakers are skeptical of continued aid to Ukraine. 

Johnson, who won the Speaker’s gavel around the same time the White House submitted its funding request, said last week he is confident Ukraine and Israel funding will pass the House. But he has said the two should be handled separately and that he supports a Ukraine measure that includes changes to U.S. border policy.

“Ukraine is another priority. Of course, we can’t allow Vladimir Putin to march through Europe. And we understand the necessity of assisting there,” Johnson said. “What we’ve said is that if there is to be additional assistance to Ukraine — which most members of Congress believe is important — we have to also work on changing our own border policy.”

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Kirby defends US approach in Israel when pressed on red lines

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby defended on Sunday the United States’s diplomatic approach in the Israel-Hamas war and would not commit to imposing any hard red lines on support for Israel.

“We believe that the approach that we’ve been taking, Margaret, has had an effect,” Kirby told CBS News’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation,” adding that the United States has been very clear in calling for Israel to take precautions to minimize deaths in Gaza.

“We are having these discussions with our Israeli counterparts every day about being careful, precise and deliberate in their targeting and trying to minimize civilian casualties to the maximum extent possible,” Kirby said.

“We don’t want to see a single more innocent life taken here. And so we’re going to continue to work with Israel about this, but the approach that we’ve been taking has delivered some results, including more than 100 hostages getting out,” he later added.

When asked about remarks last week from Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) expressing concern about Kirby refusing to commit to red lines on aid for Israel, Kirby underscored the pressure the United States still places on Israel.

“Everything that we do for a foreign military, including Israel, when you give them security assistance, there are expectations with that security assistance, that it’s going to be used in keeping with the law of armed conflict, the law of war,” Kirby said when asked Van Hollen’s criticism.

“And we are in constant touch with our Israeli counterparts about the way that they’re prosecuting these operations,” Kirby continued. “Secretary Blinken has said himself it’s not just what you do that matters. It’s how you do that matters.”

Kirby also underscored the difficulty Israel has in minimizing civilian deaths when evidence has demonstrated that Hamas deliberately places civilians in harm’s way, counting on the public backlash to Israel.

“I think it’s also important for people to remember what they’re up against here. Hamas deliberately shelters themselves inside residential buildings, hospitals and schools, basically, on purpose putting civilians in the line of fire, and what Israel is trying to do is get them out of the line of fire,” Kirby said. “So it’s an added burden that Israel has as a modern military, we recognize that, but it’s also a very difficult burden and obstacle for them to overcome.”

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