Will Congress allow it?
According to the Office of Management and Budget, $10 billion is the figure the Biden administration will need to provide aid to Ukraine, as the nation is currently enduring a full-scale attack by Russia.
The Acting Director of the OMB Shalanda Young said on Thursday that “part of the agreement lawmakers are working to finalize ahead of the March 11th deadline” included “supporting Ukraine, and continuing our ongoing COVID response efforts.” The group was also “urging Congress to include supplemental funding” to assist with COVID and support Ukraine.
Young also mentioned how since 2021, the U.S. has provided more than $1.4 billion in assistance to Ukraine but needed the additional $10 billion to “continue this important work and further support the Ukrainian people” by providing humanitarian and economic assistance and security.
The request for the 11-figure sum comes as Ukraine is enduring Russia’s heavy bombing and missile attacks.
In the meantime, Russian warships have begun making their way to Odesa, Ukraine’s third most populous city and tourism and transport hub. This move by Russia has U.S. officials anticipating Russia will be launching an amphibious assault that could start as early as Thursday.
However, besides the $10 billion necessaries for Ukraine support, Congress has the looming omnibus spending bill to pass when the continuing resolution ends on March 11. But, if passing the omnibus bill isn’t possible another continuing resolution can take effect 一 something Congress has been relying on to avoid a complete government shutdown.
But lawmakers are eager to push hard to pass a full omnibus before March 11; though it’s unclear if that’s possible.
Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois shared his concern on Wednesday, stating, “It’s time for us to… get this done. I cannot imagine at this moment of history, with Ukrainians facing what they’re facing and our allies so anxious to make sure that we’re on board, that we are delaying this any longer.”
He shared his views that Congress had “to move on this… the sooner the better.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) shared Durbin’s sentiments, adding that the Senate “must” pass aid for Ukraine, something Schumer will be expedited and easier to accomplish through an omnibus.
Biden’s administration has also asked for another $22.5 billion for COVID-19 aid, which would go toward treatments, tests, and vaccines. Although Republicans are hesitant about spending any more on the coronavirus, the Ukraine request could receive Bipartisan support.