Florida Congressman Gus Bilirakis slammed President Biden’s most recent request for more Ukraine funding and scoffed at the small amount, in compariosn, requested to fight the Fentanyl crisis at the southern border.
The White House asked Congress for $24 billion dollars in supplementary funding related to its ongoing effort to support Ukraine’s defense against Russia on Thursday.
Out of $24 billion in new U.S. government funding for Ukraine, the new request includes $13 billion for security assistance, $8.5 billion to fund economic and humanitarian programs for Ukraine and other affected countries, and $2.3 billion to incentivize other nations to support Ukraine through a World Bank fund.
The White House also seeks an additional $4 billion to combat fentanyl flowing into the United States, six times less than what will go to Ukraine.
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Congressman Bilirakis blasted this request calling it “Biden’s America-last” approach.
“Once again, President Biden’s America-last approach to governing is completely tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the harsh economic realities facing American families,” said Congressman Bilirakis.
“We cannot keep fueling inflation by spending money we don’t have to fund an endless war in Europe while ignoring national security threats here at home. There has been a complete and utter lack of transparency and accountability for the billions of American tax dollars, supplies and equipment that have already been sent to Ukraine. There is also no clear plan for establishing what constitutes a successful resolution to this conflict. As far as I’m concerned, the answer to the President’s most recent request is an emphatic and unwavering no!” said Bilirakis.
Biden’s request challenges what has been a largely bipartisan effort to provide Ukraine with U.S. weapons and economic aid, as leading House Republicans have vowed not to approve more emergency supplementals for Ukraine,
“The president has reaffirmed that we will stand with Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty for as long as it takes, a strategy that has successfully united our allies and partners and equipped Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California.
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McCarthy promised in June a supplemental appropriation was “not going anywhere” and any additional Ukraine funding would have to proceed through the regular budgeting process, according to the NYT. That month, 70 House Republicans voted to permanently suspend all Ukraine funding.
In the Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York affirmed “strong bipartisan support” for the package.
“The latest request from the Biden administration shows America’s continued commitment to helping Americans here at home and our friends abroad; and should send a clear signal to Vladimir Putin, the Chinese government, and others of America’s resolve when it comes to defending democracy around the world,” Schumer said in a statement. “We hope to join with our Republican colleagues this fall to avert an unnecessary government shutdown and fund this critical emergency supplemental request.”
Administration officials say the package should satisfy Ukraine’s needs from the U.S. through the first quarter of the 2024 fiscal year, which begins in October, according to Politico.
Politico reported that the Pentagon still has about $6 billion remaining in funds Congress authorized for 2023, as well as about $2.2 billion in long-term contract funding.
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