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Top US officials ask Congress to back $12 billion in budget support for Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek November 7, 2023 7:04 PM 2 min read
The White House, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 7, 2023. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
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Top-ranking U.S. officials appealed to Congress to approve $11.8 billion in budget support for Ukraine as part of the White House's comprehensive package, according to a letter dated Nov. 7.

"Financial support to Ukraine is inextricably linked to its success on the battlefield," read the memo addressed to party leaders in both chambers and signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, State Secretary Antony Blinken, and Samantha Power, the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

"Without adequate and timely direct budget support, Ukraine will be unable to defend itself and thwart Russia's further encroachment toward NATO countries."

As Kyiv took painful steps to cut down non-essential spending, it became more reliant on foreign support to keep its government and economy functioning, the officials said.

The letter also noted that the proposed sum is lower than the budget support of $14.4 billion in 2023. Such reduction was reportedly possible thanks to successful investment in Ukraine and securing assistance from other partners.

The authors argue that this request represents the "minimum amount needed to help cover Ukraine's baseline needs, after accounting for other possible international support."

Without securing approval for this package, the Biden Administration officials said they see no way to secure the funds Ukraine needs, even though Canada or the EU are donating more in terms of their gross domestic product (GDP).

The direct budget funding support will be accompanied by "robust oversight and transparency" and conditioned by ongoing reform efforts in Ukraine.

The White House is currently seeking Congress's approval for a total sum of $61 billion in a Ukraine assistance package containing both military and non-military support.

The Biden Administration was hoping to push the bill through by linking it with Israel aid and other items in a broader $105 billion tranche, but the plan encountered opposition from House Republicans and Speaker Mike Johnson.

Ukraine's Finance Minister Serhii Marchenko said his country would need at least $42 billion in foreign financial aid in 2024 due to high defense and security expenditures.

While the EU presented a four-year funding package of over $50 billion, this plan is currently being blocked by Hungary.

Biden threatens to veto new $14.3 billion Israel aid bill without Ukraine funding
The U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 2 passed a bill to provide $14.3 billion in aid for Israel, a move that President Joe Biden has promised to veto if it does not also include support for Ukraine, The Hill reports.

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