Biden team weighs using State Department grants to fund weapons for Ukraine

Ukrainian servicemen aim by an anti aircraft rocket at the frontline near Klishchiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine.

The Biden administration is contemplating utilizing a State Division grant program to ship extra army help to Ukraine as Congress continues to battle over weapons funding, in line with two U.S. officers with data of the discussions.

The White Home is weighing a variety of choices because it scrambles to search out extra cash to help Ukraine after lawmakers stripped funding in a last-minute deal to avert a authorities shutdown, stated the officers, who like others interviewed for this story have been granted anonymity to debate inner deliberations.

President Joe Biden hinted at this technique on Wednesday, saying “there may be one other means by which we could possibly discover funding for that.” He declined to remark additional.

One of many officers stated the president’s feedback referred to “current funding authorities” Congress beforehand gave the administration “that permit us to supply extra help to Ukraine for a bit longer if Congress doesn’t act.”

One choice into account is utilizing overseas army financing — a program run by the State Division that gives grants or loans to assist associate international locations buy weapons and protection gear — meant for Ukraine and different international locations impacted by Russia’s full-scale invasion, stated the 2 officers.

As of Sept. 21, the U.S. had roughly $650 million remaining out of $4.6 billion in overseas army financing that Congress appropriated throughout two supplemental packages for Ukraine and “international locations impacted by the state of affairs in Ukraine,” in line with .

Even when the U.S. makes use of the financing authority to buy weapons, Congress nonetheless must authorize extra funding to help Ukraine, the U.S. official stated.

The administration might additionally probably ask Congress to redirect funding from elsewhere within the Pentagon price range to help Ukraine, in line with a Protection Division official aware of the discussions. Nevertheless, this route would require approval from lawmakers.

A prime Pentagon spokesperson stated no choice had been made on what route the division will take.

“Reprogramming is all the time an choice for pressing wants. At the moment proper now, although, to my data, no choice has been made on utilizing reprogramming as a method to help Ukraine safety help,” stated Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder. “We stay dedicated to working with Congress on the Ukraine supplemental and receiving a full price range.”

Pentagon leaders warned lawmakers final week that division’s portion of earlier help packages has almost run out. Comptroller Mike McCord wrote in a letter to congressional leaders that the Protection Division “has exhausted almost all obtainable safety help funding for Ukraine.” No cash stays for the Ukraine Safety Help Initiative, this system utilized by the Pentagon to buy new weapons and gear for Kyiv, whereas $1.6 billion stays to replenish U.S. inventories.

Congress cleared a short-term funding patch to maintain the federal government open final weekend with none new Ukraine cash, sidelining Biden’s $24 billion emergency request.

Whereas Biden stated he was involved about the opportunity of operating out of funding to help Ukraine, he had confidence “a majority of members of the Home and Senate, in each events” help funding the warfare.

Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer stated on Wednesday that he and GOP chief Mitch McConnell plan to “work collectively to get an enormous bundle executed” for Ukraine. However its destiny within the Republican-led Home, the place a majority of GOP lawmakers final week opposed more cash, is much less sure.

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