President Joe Biden asked Congress on Thursday for about $33 billion in additional security and economic assistance for Ukraine as it faces the ongoing invasion from Russia.
In a Thursday address from the White House, Biden announced he had submitted the request to Congress. “The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” Biden said. “We either back Ukrainian people as they defend their country or we stand by as the Russians continue their atrocities and aggression in the Ukraine.”
Biden said “it’s critical this funding gets approved and approved as quickly as possible.”
The White House provided some details about the funding request. The new spending entails about $20.4 billion in security assistance, which will include $5 billion in additional drawdown authority for military aid, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) and $4 billion for a U.S. State Department’s foreign military financing program.
The military assistance will cover the costs for additional armored vehicles, as well as artillery, anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons for Ukraine. It will also provide support for mine-clearing and explosive ordnance disposal efforts. Military assistance funding will also increase production capabilities for munitions and strategic minerals being used and bolster U.S. troops deployed in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-allied nations neighboring Ukraine.
The request will include another $8.5 billion in economic assistance and $3 billion for humanitarian and food security programs.
The White House spending request asks for another $500 million to provide domestic food production assistance for U.S. food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, including wheat and soybeans.
The request also calls for more support for the Department of Justice’s newly formed KleptoCapture Task force, which has focused on seizing assets of Russian government and business officials.
The new request comes as Biden has said he has “almost exhausted” the $3.5 billion in budget drawdowns he is authorized to pull from in emergency cases for Ukraine. Biden said the request will begin the “transition to longer-term security assistance” for Ukraine.
“The president’s funding request is what we believe is needed to enable Ukraine’s success over the next five months of this war,” one senior administration official told CBS News.