Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young wrote a letter to Congress on Monday saying, “We are out of money to support Ukraine in this fight." File Photo by Nathan Howard/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 4 (UPI) -- The White House sent a letter to Congress on Monday urging lawmakers to approve more funding for Ukraine to fight Russia as the clock was ticking for previously allocated aid to run out in less than a month.
Lawmakers need to make a deal and pass it to President Joe Biden before the end of the year to avoid getting tangled up in a government funding dispute that is set to pick back up in January when Congress reconvenes after winter break.
But administration officials insist Congress can't afford to wait that long to provide more support to Kyiv.
The United States is "nearly out of time" to continue to help Ukraine hold ground in the nearly two-year-long war, according to an urgent letter to lawmakers from Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young.
"We are out of money to support Ukraine in this fight," she wrote in the memo addressed to House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who were all sent copies.
"This isn't a next year problem. The time to help a democratic Ukraine fight against Russian aggression is right now. It is time for Congress to act."
The White House was aiming to put increased pressure on Congress to pass a stalled $106 billion supplemental aid package for Ukraine, which was proposed in late October when Biden called the funding crucial to U.S. national security.
More than a month later, the funds remain in limbo as hardline Republicans leverage a thin majority in the House to oppose further Ukraine aid, while Biden remains firm on the critical need to boost aid to Kyiv, arguing a Russian victory in Ukraine would have serious consequences for democracy globally, and potentially entangle the United States in future wars.
Lawmakers came back to Capitol Hill after the Thanksgiving recess facing major debate over funding the national budget, with aid for Israel, Palestinians, and Ukraine hanging in the balance.
Less than a dozen work days now remain before members go on Christmas break, with the House and Senate up against a Jan. 19 deadline to keep the government fully funded.
The White House aid request -- which sought additional funds for Ukraine, allies in the Indo-Pacific, and for Israel in its war against Hamas -- includes $61 billion for Ukraine, $30 million of which would provide equipment from Defense Department stockpiles while replenishing those stocks.
By greenlighting the Ukraine aid request, Congress would funnel an extra $50 billion into strengthening the nation's defense industrial base across Europe and elsewhere, the White House said.
Last week, Johnson expressed confidence that the funding for Ukraine and Israel would pass in the House, however, he emphasized the need to address the two conflicts independently, adding that he endorses a Ukraine measure that includes changes to U.S. border policy.
"Ukraine is another priority. Of course, we can't allow Vladimir Putin to march through Europe. And we understand the necessity of assisting there," Johnson said. "What we've said is that if there is to be additional assistance to Ukraine -- which most members of Congress believe is important -- we have to also work on changing our own border policy."
Previously, Congress approved $111 billion for Ukraine, but those funds dried up quickly as Kyiv has been stretched thin to defend its territory against a near-daily bombardment.
As of mid-November, the Pentagon had utilized 97% of the $62.3 billion it received from Congress to help Ukraine, according to Young.
The State Department has also fully expended $4.7 billion allocated for military assistance, covering humanitarian aid, economic support and security for civilians.
In early November, State Department officials warned senators that the United States' alliances in Europe could be in jeopardy if new funding is not approved soon.
Echoing that warning, Young on Monday cautioned that a lack of additional funding would severely weaken Ukraine on the battlefield, risking the progress the country has made so far in the war, while "increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories."
"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," she said. "There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money -- and nearly out of time."
Approximately 60% of U.S. funds already allocated to support Ukraine has contributed to strengthening U.S. defenses overseas, resulting in substantial benefits for American businesses as the U.S. government manufactures more weapons for Ukraine, while enhancing its own stockpiles, according to Young.