Lawmakers need to approve funds by October to avoid disruption, Jake Sullivan says
The White House has urged American lawmakers to approve President Joe Biden's request for an additional $24 billion for Ukraine by the end of the month in order to ensure an uninterrupted flow of aid to the country.
The US government has appropriated funds for the current fiscal year, which ends on September 30, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told the media on Thursday. He said additional resources were now required from Congress by October 1 to avoid disruption to the supply of aid to Ukraine.
Continued assistance to Kiev in its fight against Russia is facing a growing pushback from Republican lawmakers, particularly in the House of Representatives, where the party has a majority. Critics argue that Washington has more important priorities and should have stronger safeguards against the misappropriation of the aid it sends to Kiev.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky met members of Congress on Thursday to make his case in person. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said one phrase summed up the visiting leader's message.
"Mr. Zelensky said: 'If we don't get the aid, we will lose the war,'" he remarked after hosting the Ukrainian president.
White House officials held a classified briefing for lawmakers on Wednesday evening. Senator Josh Hawley indicated he had been cemented in the conviction that the Biden administration's Ukraine policy was failing.
"If there's some path to victory in Ukraine, I didn't hear it today. And I also heard that there's going to be no end to the funding requests," the Republican said.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a fellow GOP member with an opposing view on the conflict, argued that "pulling the plug on Ukraine while they're winning on the battlefield and letting [Russian President Vladimir] Putin get away with this is far worse than Afghanistan."
He was referring to Biden's 2021 decision to withdraw the US military from the Middle Eastern country, after two decades of costly counterinsurgency action and state-building experiments.
Senator John Fetterman, a Democrat, promised an unorthodox concession to Republicans in the other chamber to secure money for Kiev.
"If those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week," he pledged on social media on Wednesday.
Fetterman famously has an aversion to formal dress. Last Sunday, Schumer ditched the Senate dress code for elected officials - but not staff members - much to the chagrin of US conservatives.