Friday, March 1, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Friday, March 1, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Congress stops Biden’s new war package – Treasury secretary fuming

The war in Ukraine

Published 9 December 2023
- By Editorial Staff
Current US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the US would be “responsible for Ukraine’s defeat” if Congress does not approve the Biden administration’s latest request for billions of dollars in funding, including military aid, for Ukraine.

Democrats’ hopes were dashed, however, when the proposal was defeated by a vote of 51 to 49.

Janet Yellen told reporters during a trip to Mexico City that US funding for the war – particularly general budget support for Ukraine – was “absolutely critical” and also a condition for the continued flow of money to Ukraine from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

US lawmakers have long discussed a new $111 billion spending package that would include $61 billion for Kiev, along with funding for Israel, Taiwan and US border security. The latest proposal was unveiled by Democrats on Tuesday.

Janet Yellen believes that the billions of dollars in aid that have now been rejected are absolutely necessary to give Ukraine a chance to win.

– I’ve talked to members of Congress, my colleagues have. I think they understand this, that this is a dire situation and we can hold ourselves responsible for Ukraine’s defeat if we don’t manage to get this funding to Ukraine that’s needed, and I’m including direct budget support here because that’s utterly essential, the Treasury secretary said.

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget, warned in a letter to Congress on Monday that funds set aside for Ukraine will soon run out. She said that as of mid-November, the Pentagon had spent 97 percent of the $62.3 billion Kiev has received so far this year.

Volodymyr Zelenskyj will have to wait for the next US aid package. Photo: President of Ukraine

Congress says no

But the spending package failed to get the 60 votes needed to proceed and did not pass the Senate in Wednesday’s vote.

The final tally was 49 for and 51 against, with the Republican opposition voting against the bill along with Senator Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate who is now a “political independent” but usually votes with the Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also voted against the bill, reportedly in order to take it up at a later date.

In October, the White House initially requested $105 billion in emergency supplemental funding for “national security” and, as noted above, chose to combine support for Ukraine with money for Israel, Taiwan, and “border security” in order to appeal to Republicans.

However, the Republican majority in the House wants to deal with each issue in separate appropriations bills – something the Democratic-dominated Senate has so far refused to do.

House Appropriations chairman Mike Johnson told the White House on Tuesday that one of the conditions for approving additional aid to Ukraine would be passage of HR2, the Secure the Border Act of 2023. Johnson described the situation on the border with Mexico as “an unending and unsustainable disaster”.

The US has sent more than $100 billion in aid to Kiev since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022, including weapons, ammunition, supplies, and money to strengthen the Ukrainian currency and pay pensions and government salaries.


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