U.S. President Joe Biden met with Congressional leaders to discuss Ukraine and the unblocking of U.S. aid funding, the White House press service announced on Jan. 17.
Since autumn 2023, Congress has disagreed on a supplemental funding bill that included $61 billion in aid for Ukraine. Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked an initiative in December, insisting that further military aid must include significant domestic border changes.
“President Biden underscored the importance of Congress ensuring Ukraine has the resources it needs–including air defense and artillery capabilities–to defend itself against Russia’s brutal invasion,” the White House press service wrote in a statement.
Biden called on Congress to provide Ukraine with additional funding, stressing the high cost of inaction for Ukraine, the U.S., and the NATO alliance.
According to the White House statement, the U.S. President committed to reaching a bipartisan agreement on border policy and the need for additional resources at the border.
Despite the president's initiative, many Republiacan Congress members continue to insist on Biden addressing border policy demands before committing to additional aid for Ukraine, CNN reported on Jan. 17, citing the U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“There are a couple of people in the room who said let’s do the border first – we said we have to do both together in the Senate,” Schumer said.
The U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, as well as Schumer, described the meeting as productive but said that the border issue must be a top priority.
“We’re not insistent upon a particular name of a piece of legislation, but we are insistent that the elements have to be meaningful,” Johnson said, referring to the potential inclusion of a partisan House-passed border security bill.
Biden signed the last U.S. $250 million aid package for Ukraine on Dec. 27, including ammunition for the anti-aircraft warfare, multiple launch rocket systems, artillery, anti-tank mines and others.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced on Jan. 17 that the Senate could consider the Ukraine aid package together with border policy as early as next week.