WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Thursday will ask Congress to provide more than $13 billion in emergency aid to Ukraine, another massive infusion of cash as the Russian invasion wears on and Ukraine pushes a counteroffensive against the Kremlin’s deeply entrenched forces, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The last such request from the White House, made in November, was met and then some — Congress approved more than what Biden had requested. But there’s a different dynamic this time. A political divide on the issue has grown, with the GOP-led House facing enormous pressure to demonstrate support for the party’s leader Donald Trump, who has been very skeptical of the war. And American support for the effort has been slowly softening.
The White House also is expected to ask for $12 billion to replenish federal disaster funds, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about a request that had not yet been made public and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.
The emerging package also is likely to be bolstered with funds for other domestic needs, which could provide a way to draw in broader political support from Republicans.
Biden and his senior national security team have repeatedly said the United States will help Ukraine “as long as it takes” to oust Russia from its borders. Privately, administration officials have warned Ukrainian officials that there is a limit to the patience of a narrowly divided Congress — and American public — for the costs of a war with no clear end.
“For people who might be concerned the costs are getting too high, we’d ask them what the costs — not just in treasure but in blood, perhaps even American blood — could be if Putin subjugates Ukraine,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby said this week.
Support among the American public for providing Ukraine weaponry and direct economic assistance has softened with time. An AP-NORC poll conducted in January 2023 around the one-year mark of the conflict, found that 48% favored the U.S. providing weapons to Ukraine, down from the 60% of U.S. adults who were in favor sending Ukraine weapons in May 2022. While Democrats have generally been more supportive than Republicans of offering weaponry, their support dropped slightly from 71% to 63% in the same period. Republicans’ support dropped more, from 53% to 39%.
Long reported from Chicago.