President Joe Biden sent a request to Congress for an additional $33 billion to supply Ukraine with security and humanitarian aid. The president said he is running out of money for the war effort.
“The cost of this fight is not cheap but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it to happen,” President Biden said.
The President’s proposal includes $20 billion in military assistance for artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor and anti-air systems. The President also wants to give $8.5 billion in economic aid to the government in Kyiv and $3 billion for humanitarian assistance like food, water and shelter.
“It’s gonna keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption to the brave Ukrainian fighters and continue delivering economic humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian people,” the president said.
The House of Representatives called on President Biden to take another approach Wednesday by selling seized Russian assets, including cash, yachts, and private jets belonging to billionaire oligarchs.
The Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act urges President Biden to come up with a way to sell the assets and give the money to Ukraine for reconstruction and refugee resettlement, in addition to humanitarian and security aid. The United States and its allies have seized $300 billion in Russian central bank assets since the war began.
“Can we imagine at that moment giving all of this wealth, all of Russia’s wealth, the yachts, the bank accounts, the villas, the planes back to Putin and his cronies as Ukraine lies in ruin,” Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) asked. “I think the answer is no.”
The bill passed with an extraordinary bipartisan vote of 417 to 8. It is non-binding and does not obligate the president to sell the assets but states he “should.”
The president also requested $22.5 billion for Covid-19 vaccines, testing and treatments. There is broad support on Capitol Hill for Ukraine aid, but not enough support for a pandemic package of that size. If congressional leaders try to pass the two together, a joint package may fail. President Biden indicated he does not care whether they pass together or separately.