The Biden administration is expected to send another supplemental request to Congress this week for Ukraine after warning that money from the last package is nearly depleted. But, while there is broad support on Capitol Hill to give Ukraine more assistance, the path to passage is much more uncertain in the Senate.
In order to pass Covid-19 relief quickly before the recess, Republicans argued they wanted a vote to block the administration’s decision on Title 42. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wouldn’t give it to them.
Talks about how to pass both Covid relief and Ukraine aid will begin Monday when lawmakers return to Washington. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, has also made it clear that he wants to include global vaccine funding in a Ukraine aid package. The vaccine funding wasn’t included in the $10 billion Covid package because of opposition from Republicans in the negotiations.
Why the Biden administration needs more money for Ukraine
The reason the Biden administration says it needs more money for Ukraine now is that the administration has used $2.45 billion out of the $3 billion in funding Congress authorized in Presidential Drawdown Authority funding as of April 22, according to a source familiar with the matter. Congress authorized $3 billion in that specific pot of money when they passed the omnibus spending bill in March.
But the pot of money is running out. After six weeks, the Biden administration has used up all but about $50 million of a $3 billion pot. Lawmakers are already having preliminary discussions about writing and passing another supplemental aid package for Ukraine, but conversations are still preliminary, a Congressional aid said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the administration does not want to run out of funding from the Presidential Drawdown Authority before another supplemental aid package is passed in Congress.
“We are getting close to the end of those funds, and so that’s why we are actively engaging with members of Congress,” Kirby told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon on Friday. “We don’t want to get to a point [sic] where we’re in extremus, where we’ve actually run out of the authority and the funding to execute it. So we’re having those discussions.”