President Biden is upping his request for humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, calling on Congress to approve $10 billion to help bolster the nation in its fight against Russia.
Shalanda Young, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, made the request in a letter to the congressional Democratic leadership on Tuesday. The figure is significantly larger than the $6.4 billion that administration officials initially urged lawmakers to approve just last week.
“These resources will mean additional defense equipment for Ukraine, lifesaving humanitarian assistance — such as emergency food assistance — for the Ukrainian people, stronger sanctions enforcement, a dedicated task force led by the Department of Justice to go after the ill-gotten gains and other illicit activities of the Russian oligarchs, and additional support for US troop deployments to neighboring countries,” said Mrs. young.
Approximately $4.8 billion is earmarked for US troop deployments to NATO countries bordering Ukraine. The deployments are to serve as a precautionary measure should Russian President Vladimir Putin expand his scope of military aggression.
Part of the money also will go to arming the besieged Ukrainians with more military equipment to fend off the Russian invaders.
Similarly, $5 billion is being requested so the State Department and US Agency for International Development (USAID) can provide security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and neighboring NATO alliances. More than half of that sum, roughly $2.75 billion, is earmarked towards providing food and support for Ukrainian refugees and others displaced by the war.
Administration officials also say the money will help push back on Russia’s cyber attacks and disinformation campaign in the region. Some of the money also will be used to strengthen Ukraine’s electrical grid to ensure the country can continue fighting against Russian aggression.
The White House didn’t rule out asking for more money if the situation in Ukraine worsens quickly.
“This funding request is based on the administration’s best information on resource requirements at this time, and we will remain in touch with the Congress in the coming weeks and months as we assess resource requirements beyond these immediate needs,” said Mrs. young.
Congressional leaders are planning to include the emergency aid in a yearlong spending bill that they must pass by March 11.