White House warns Congress will ‘kneecap Ukraine on battlefield’ without more aid

The White House sent an urgent appeal to congressional leadership Monday, warning that both time and U.S. assistance to Ukraine are running out and pleading for urgent action.

“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote. “There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money—and nearly out of time.”

“Cutting off the flow of U.S. weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories,” Young wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will likely try to force the issue this week and could start the process for considering the supplement funding package including Ukraine assistance as soon as Monday. Senate Republicans, however, are threatening to filibuster unless they get harsh border policy changes on asylum and parole reform. Those demands are so extreme that Senate Democrats working with Republicans walked away from the negotiations Friday. “We just got to a point where this negotiation just wasn’t a negotiation anymore,” one Democratic source told CNN.

House Speaker Mike Johnson is buttressing the Senate GOP, according to Punchbowl News, telling Schumer, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries that he will allow Ukraine aid only if it is attached to the racist, extreme immigration bill passed by House Republicans earlier this year.

No Democrat in the House voted for the bill. Senate Democrats have refused to bring it to the floor. The White House issued a veto threat, saying it “would cut off nearly all access to humanitarian protections in ways that are inconsistent with our Nation’s values and international obligations.” The bill “would make things worse, not better,” the White House said.

Johnson is trying to regain the trust of the fractious House GOP conference by insisting that he won’t accept anything less than a capitulation by the Senate and the White House on immigration in return for Ukraine aid, despite his assertion last week that “we can’t allow Vladimir Putin to march through Europe. And we understand the necessity of assisting there.”

He dismissed the White House’s urgent letter Monday, tweeting that the administration has “failed to substantively address” House Republicans’ concerns about aid to Ukraine, and reiterating “any national security supplemental package must begin with our own border.”

Meanwhile, McConnell has been among the staunchest supporters of Ukraine in Congress, but is now backing the hard-liners in the Senate who are demanding the extreme border policy changes. The next week is a test for McConnell, who continues to say the right things about Ukraine and Russia but so far has failed to lead.

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