Shafaq News/ The White House has asked lawmakers to approve $10 billion in lethal and humanitarian aid for Ukraine as part of a $32.5 billion emergency funding request sent to Capitol Hill.
The request follows weeks of discussions between White House officials and lawmakers about the shape of any potential emergency request, which was expected to focus heavily on Covid-19 needs. But the escalating Russian invasion has dramatically increased the size of the specific request for Ukraine.
Lawmakers are in the midst of negotiations over a long-term funding deal and face a March 11 deadline to reach an agreement.
The Ukraine funds are expected to be attached to any final deal, but the process remains fluid.
"This request identifies an immediate need for $10 billion in additional humanitarian, security, and economic assistance for Ukraine and Central European partners due to Russia's unjustified and unprovoked invasion," read the formal request sent Wednesday from acting Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young to congressional leadership.
Young suggested the initial $10 billion request for Ukraine would address "immediate needs" and more funding could be needed.
"Given the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine, I anticipate that additional needs may arise over time. 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," she said.
The detailed funding request provides $4.8 billion to the Department of Defense, including $1.8 billion for support in the region as US military units support US European Command and the NATO Response Force, $1.3 billion for cybersecurity and other defense support and $1.8 billion for replenishment of Defense Department stocks. It also calls for $5 billion for the Department of State and US Agency for International Development (USAID), including $2.8 billion in humanitarian assistance like food and other support; $500 million in military assistance through the Foreign Military Financing program; and $1.8 billion in economic assistance to help "support continuity of government and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, as well as emergent needs in the region."
The request also provides $21 million for the Department of Commerce to bolster export controls, $30 million for the Department of Energy to provide "technical assistance for electric grid integration," $59 million for the Department of Justice to support a newly announced Task Force KleptoCapture to enforce sanctions on Russia and other funding for the Multinational Task Force and $91 million for the Department of Treasury for sanctions support and IRS criminal investigations, among other expenditures.
The White House has also requested $22.5 billion in "immediate needs" for the ongoing Covid-19 response, including funding for treatments, testing and vaccines, as well as money for work to protect against future variants and efforts to vaccinate more people globally.
A source familiar with the request noted that over 90% of funds from the Covid relief bill passed last year have been committed and "nearly all" of the funds from that bill for the Department of Health and Human Services' Covid-19 response "have now been used." Those funds were used for vaccine and therapeutics purchases and distribution, testing, research, supplies and hospital infection control.
"Without additional resources, the Administration won't be able to secure the treatments, vaccines, and tests Americans need in coming months. And critical Covid response efforts -- such as free community testing sites and testing, treatment, and vaccination coverage for uninsured individuals -- will end this spring," the source said.