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White House Warns, Failure To Vote $61 Billion More Will ‘Kneecap’ Ukraine

John Kirby, National Security Council spokesman, on ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” yesterday was asked whether U.S. President Joe Biden would agree to Republican efforts to get more money for security on the U.S.-Mexico border, in exchange for support to pass his $106 billion national security “supplemental request,” mainly for Ukraine and Israel. Kirby demurred, but described money for Ukraine as needed “desperately” and called for Congress to pass the military aid package. Biden has slated Ukraine for $61 billion of the amount. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports that, in 2022, $113 billion of aid and military assistance had been approved, with an estimated $67 billion for defense needs and $46 billion non-military, primarily running the Ukrainian government, e.g. salaries, etc. At a rate of 3:2, the next $61 billion would provide another $24 billion for Ukraine’s non-military needs.

Today, White House budget director Shalanda Young sent a letter to congressional leaders, saying that Congress would “kneecap” Kiev if they didn’t send the money: “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. There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money—and nearly out of time.... Cutting off the flow of U.S. weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories. Already, our packages of security assistance have become smaller and the deliveries of aid have become more limited … while our allies around the world have stepped up to do more, U.S. support is critical and cannot be replicated by others.... If Ukraine’s economy collapses, they will not be able to keep fighting, full stop. Putin understands this well, which is why Russia has made destroying Ukraine’s economy central to its strategy—which you can see in its attacks against Ukraine’s grain exports and energy infrastructure.”

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