White House points to defense spending in states in new plea for Ukraine aid

By: - December 4, 2023 10:51 am

Air Force airmen load munitions for a guided multiple launch rocket system onto a Boeing 767 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Aug. 11, 2022. The cargo was part of a security assistance package for Ukraine. The White House is asking Congress to approve additional Ukraine aid. (DOD Photo by Air Force Senior Airman Matt Porter)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is warning Congress that without more funding for Ukraine, the United States will no longer be able to provide that country with military assistance — and emphasizing the multiple states from Arkansas to Michigan to Pennsylvania where businesses already have benefited from earlier aid.

Cutting off U.S. funding would not only weaken Ukraine’s ability to stave off Russia’s invasion, but impact defense manufacturing throughout America, which has seen billions more to build weapons.

“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,” White House budget director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to congressional leaders.

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

In the two-page letter, Young emphasized that the billions of dollars Congress has already provided for Ukraine have bolstered the United States’ defense industrial base.

The supplemental spending request that President Joe Biden sent to Congress in October would provide another $50 billion to those manufacturers.

“While we cannot predict exactly which U.S. companies will be awarded new contracts, we do know the funding will be used to acquire advanced capabilities to defend against attacks on civilians in Israel and Ukraine — for example, air defense systems built in Alabama, Texas, and Georgia and vital subcomponents sourced from nearly all 50 states,” Young wrote.

The funding would also “modernize vital munitions and equipment like Javelins made in Alabama; Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) made in West Virginia, Arkansas and Texas; tactical vehicles made in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana; and 155mm artillery shells made in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Iowa and many other states,” she wrote.

Funding request stalled

The Biden administration in October asked Congress to provide more than $105 billion in funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and U.S. border security.

Those negotiations have been stalled as a small, bipartisan group of senators attempted to find bipartisan agreement on border security. Democrats are also split on whether to set conditions on additional aid to Israel.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, has repeatedly warned against tying aid to Ukraine and Israel to immigration policy changes.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has said several times that funding in the national security supplemental package must include changes to U.S. immigration policy.

Schumer has said the Senate will vote on a package this week, though without the support of Republicans, the bill likely won’t get past the legislative filibuster, which requires at least 60 senators to advance the bill to final passage.

Young wrote in her letter that “helping Ukraine defend itself and secure its future as a sovereign, democratic, independent, and prosperous nation advances our national security interests.”

“It prevents larger conflict in the region that could involve NATO and put U.S. forces in harm’s way and deters future aggression, making us all safer.”

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Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.

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