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White House won't discuss separating aid to Ukraine from security bill

by Rachel Amran February 1, 2024 6:30 PM 2 min read
Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Anna Rose Layden/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The White House won't discuss the possibility of separating aid for Ukraine into separate legislation from the national security bill currently being negotiated in Congress, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Feb. 1.

The announcement comes after U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson reportedly told a group of Baltic political leaders that President Joe Biden's national security proposal that combines aid for Ukraine with border policy reform would likely be split up.

"That's not what we want to see. We want the additional national security funding request to move forward. That's what we're working on," she said.

Jean-Pierre emphasized that the White House is currently focused on getting the national security bill approved as it is.

"That's one of the reasons why we're having a very important bipartisan discussion in the Senate to figure out what we can do for border security, but we want this supplemental request to the national security bill to move forward," the spokeswoman added.

The funding request of over $110 billion, including around $61 billion for Ukraine, has been stuck in Congress since autumn 2023. Senate Republicans blocked the approval of the $61 billion in aid last month, largely over concerns the bill did not contain border security measures.

As a way to expedite the passage of aid for Ukraine, intensified border security measures were integrated into the aid deal. House Republicans, including Speaker Johnson, have stated that newly developed provisions are insufficient.

Johnson's other comments on Ukraine indicated that his concerns about the ability for new aid to be passed were not limited to border issues. Many Republicans have said they are categorically opposed to further aid for Ukraine, regardless of compromises on the border and immigration.

Earlier this month,  U.S. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby announced that the U.S. had run out of existing money for aid for Ukraine, and "there's no other magical pot to dip into" unless Congress passes a new funding package.

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