The White House made clear Friday that the amount of money the US has available for Ukraine military aid is quickly running out as House Speaker Mike Johnson and the Senate remain at odds over the Biden administration’s multi-billion dollar request for more funding.
A $425 million security package announced on Friday pushed the US to the limit on the money available to Kiev.
“We are beginning to provide Ukraine with smaller [Presidential Drawdown Authority] packages in order to stretch out our ability to support Ukraine for as long as possible,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday.
Last month, President Joe Biden requested more than $100 billion for national security, including $61.4 billion for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel, urging Congress to pass the supplemental bill as a “comprehensive, bipartisan agreement.”
The administration’s request includes $61.4 billion in aid for Ukraine and $14.3 billion in aid for Israel, $9.15 billion in funding for humanitarian aid, $7.4 billion in funding for Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region and $13.6 billion to address security at the US-Mexico border.
But the newly elected GOP speaker has yet to outline his plan for Ukraine funding after decoupling the request from Israel aid, which the House passed Thursday.
“Ukraine will come in short order, it will come next,” Johnson said at a press conference Thursday, linking it to a need for stricter border security policies which will be far harder to pass in the Democratic-led Senate. “If we’re going to take care of a border in Ukraine, we need to take care of America’s border as well.”
The most recent package included $125 million from a presidential drawdown, which is equipment and weaponry pulled directly from Defense Department stocks and quickly shipped to Ukraine. But it is one of the smallest drawdown packages given to Ukraine since the start of the war more than 18 months ago, as the White House acknowledged it needed to stretch what little funding it had left.
The package also included $300 million under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which exhausted the funding for that authority. Under USAI, the government contracts with industry to provide equipment to Ukraine, intending it as a longer-term transfer of supplies to Kyiv.
The Pentagon’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael McCord, warned in early October that USAI money had run out for the previous fiscal year, urging Congress to pass additional funding. The $300 million was the only money available for USAI from the current Continuing Resolution funding the government.
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