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145 views • September 21, 2023

Biden Welcomes Zelenskyy to White House While Congress Split on Ukraine Aid

Capitol Report
Capitol Report
President Joe Biden welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the White House on Sept. 21 as he seeks continued assistance for his war-torn country in the face of Russia's invasion. Mr. Zelenskyy also met with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, although the response to his aid request is becoming increasingly difficult as Republican lawmakers are divided on future Ukraine aid. It's Mr. Zelenskyy’s sixth meeting with President Biden in person and his third visit to the White House. During the meeting, President Biden announced a new package of military assistance for Ukraine worth $325 million that includes significant air defense capabilities. The Biden administration asked Congress last month to authorize $24 billion in additional funding for Ukraine as part of a supplemental budget proposal. However, due to rising concerns on both the left and right, the new request is facing a political battle. When asked about congressional support for Ukraine funding during his bilateral meeting with Mr. Zelenskyy, President Biden said: "I'm counting on the good judgment of the United States Congress. There is no alternative." Since February 2022, the United States has appropriated $113 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine and countries affected by the war. The current funding was intended to last until Sept. 30. National security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed that the funds will run out soon. “We would like additional resources from the Congress on October 1st to be able to ensure that there's no disruption in the supply,” he said during a White House news conference on Sept. 21. Mr. Sullivan noted that while there's a “vocal, quite small minority of members” expressing questions, an overwhelming majority of members, both Democrats and Republicans, want to see the Ukraine money continue. More than two dozen Republicans in the Senate and House sent a new letter to the White House on Sept. 21 promising to oppose additional funding for Ukraine and demanding that the president explain where the taxpayers' money has gone.
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