Washington, Dec. 4 – White House Budget Director Shalanda Young warned in a letter Monday to Republican Speaker Mike Johnson and other congressional leaders that the United States does not have the time or money to help Ukraine in its war with Russia.
President Joe Biden’s administration has asked Congress for nearly $106 billion to fund ambitious plans for Ukraine, Israel and US border security.
Republicans control the House of Representatives by a slim majority, and funding for Ukraine has become politically contentious with some right-wing lawmakers.
In a letter released by the White House, Young said the flow of funding and weapons to Ukraine would increase the likelihood of Russian victories.
“I want to be clear: Without action by Congress, we will run out of resources to purchase more weapons and equipment for Ukraine by the end of the year, and to deliver equipment from the U.S. military stockpile,” he wrote.
“There is no magic pot of funding to meet this moment. We have no money – and almost no time.”
Young said U.S. allies have stepped up their support for Ukraine, but Washington’s support cannot be replaced.
As of mid-November, he wrote, the U.S. Department of Defense had used 97% of the $62.3 billion in additional funding it received and the State Department had used the $4.7 billion in military assistance funds it had been allocated.
About $27.2 billion in economic aid and $10 billion in humanitarian aid were used.
“I must emphasize that it is in our national security interests to help Ukraine defend itself and secure its future as a sovereign, democratic, free and prosperous nation,” Young said.
The letter also went to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“It prevents a major conflict in the region that involves NATO and harms U.S. forces and prevents future aggression, which makes us all safer,” he said.
Young noted that the funds could be used for contracts with companies in Alabama, Texas, Georgia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Michigan, endorsing key political swing states and Republican strongholds ahead of the 2024 election.
Democratic Senator Mark Warner said last week that the US Congress was on the verge of a tragic error.
“I think it would be a historic mistake if Congress doesn’t provide aid before Christmas,” Warner told Reuters.
“Israel will win the war against Hamas without US help. President Zelensky has said that Ukraine will not win, and we are at that critical moment that another US crackdown after what happened a few months ago would be an unparalleled disaster.”
Reported by Jeff Mason; Editing by Jamie Freed and Heather Timmons
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Jeff Mason is a White House correspondent for Reuters. He has covered the presidencies of Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden, as well as the presidential campaigns of Biden, Trump, Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain. He served as president of the White House Correspondents’ Association in 2016-2017, leading journalists in advocating for press freedom in the early days of the Trump administration. His and the WHCA’s work has been recognized by Deutsche Welle’s “Freedom of Speech Award”. Jeff has asked pointed questions of domestic and foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. He is the winner of the WHCA’s “Best in Presidential News Coverage under Deadline Pressure” award and co-winner of the Association for Business Journalists’ “Breaking News” award. Jeff began his career in Frankfurt, Germany before being posted. Brussels, Belgium, where he covers the European Union. Jeff appears regularly on television and radio and teaches political journalism at Georgetown University. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Middle School of Journalism and a former Fulbright Scholar.