It’s Monday night in kyiv. Here’s what you need to know.


US military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine could risk getting bogged down in the immigration battle brewing on Capitol Hill between Republicans and the Biden administration.

The Biden administration is expected to send another additional request to Congress this week for Ukraine after warning that money from the latest package was nearly exhausted. But, while there is broad support on Capitol Hill to help Ukraine further, the path to passage is much more uncertain in the US Senate.

It’s still unclear what vehicle Democrats would use to funnel aid to Ukraine, but a likely option would be to tie aid to $10 billion in COVID-19 funding that’s already flowing through the Senate. However, tying Ukraine’s aid to money for COVID-19 testing and treatment could put critical wartime aid in the crosshairs of political struggles over immigration.

Where things stand on Covid relief: Ahead of the holidays, the $10 billion COVID-19 relief package stalled after Republicans insisted they would not speed up the process unless Democrats agreed to vote on a amendment that would block the administration’s decision to rescind Title 42, a Trump-era order. that during the pandemic allowed the Trump and Biden administrations to send immigrants back across the border to their home countries immediately citing a public health crisis. That order is set to be overturned at the end of May, but the decision is facing stiff opposition from Republicans and some moderate Democrats who have warned the decision will lead to an increase in illegal border crossings.

In order to get Covid-19 relief through quickly before the break, Republicans argued they wanted a vote to block the administration’s decision on Title 42. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, wouldn’t give it to them.

Talks on how to push through both covid relief and aid to Ukraine will begin on Monday when lawmakers return to Washington. Schumer has also made it clear that he wants to include global funding for vaccines in an aid package for Ukraine. Funding for the vaccine was not included in the $10 billion Covid package due to Republican opposition to the negotiations.

Why the Biden administration needs more money for Ukraine: The reason the Biden administration says it needs more money for Ukraine now is that the administration has used $2.45 billion of the $3 billion in funding authorized by Congress in as part of the Presidential Drawdown Authority’s funding as of April 22, according to a source familiar with the matter. Congress authorized $3 billion in this specific kitty when it passed the omnibus spending bill in March.

Overall, Congress passed $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine when passing its government funding package in March. This included increasing the specific amount of money the administration could at its discretion spend on Ukraine to $3 billion.

But the pot is running out. After six weeks, the Biden administration has exhausted all but about $50 million of a $3 billion pot. Lawmakers are already having preliminary discussions about drafting and passing another additional aid package for Ukraine, but conversations are still preliminary, a congressional aide said.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the administration does not want to run out of funding from the Presidential Drawdown Authority before another additional aid package passes Congress.

“We are nearing the end of these funds, and that is why we are actively engaging with members of Congress,” Kirby told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on Friday. “We don’t want to come to a point [sic] where we are at extremes, where we no longer have the authority and funding to execute it. So we have these discussions.

Last week, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jim Inhofe, called on Congress to begin drafting a new, additional aid package for Ukraine in a series of tweets.


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