Biden to ask Congress for $33 billion to support Ukraine through September
U.S. President Joe Biden announces an extra $800 million in security assistance for Ukraine, as he updates the U.S. on Russian invasion efforts. He made the announcement during a speech in Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. April 21st, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will ask Congress for $33 billion to fund both humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine through September of this year, senior administration officials said Thursday.
This massive aid package will include a proposal for Congress to amend some long-standing criminal laws that makes it easier for the U.S. seize assets from sanctioned Russian Oligarchys and sell them to the Ukrainians.
This $33 billion request includes $20.4 billion for additional security and military aid for Ukraine, as well as money to support U.S. efforts in Europe to strengthen security cooperation with NATO allies.
According to the administration, this was done in order to arm Kyiv as well European partners with extra artillery, armored vehicle and anti-armor capabilities.
Biden wrote to Congress to warn them that failure to monitor Russian President Vladimir Putin could lead to far higher costs than his current proposal.
President Obama wrote that “Though we anticipate our NATO allies will be making larger collective contributions than America, there’s no doubt that continuing support to Ukraine in this conflict against Russian aggression will require substantial additional investments on our part.”
Biden stated, “What I am trying to emphasize to Congress and to the American people it this: The cost of not standing up to violence in Europe has always exceeded the cost to stand firm against these attacks.”
A $8.5 billion contribution to the support of Ukraine’s economy is another portion of $33 billion
The total amount will fund Ukraine’s government as well as support Ukraine’s food, energy, health, and political disinformation efforts. This $8.5 billion will also be used to help small and medium-sized farmers during fall harvest as well as for purchasing natural gas.
Due to the dramatic increase in food prices following Russia’s invasion, three billion dollars will be used to provide aid to the world in the form wheat and other commodities.
This two-part congressional request comes at a time when the war is entering its third month. And as U.S. military commanders say that they have two strategic objectives for Ukraine. To arm Ukrainian troops so they can win the war against Russia by removing Russia entirely from Ukraine. To weaken Russia’s overall power structure in the long-term, Russia must tie up its troops and embargo its economy.
Republicans and Democrats are expected to support the supplemental budget request for Congress, even though it increases America’s total expenditures in Ukraine to 36 billion within 9 months.
Biden also plans to send Congress a range of suggestions to modify existing laws in an effort to ease the task of Treasury and State Departments following up on hundreds of sanctions placed on Russian government officials and oligarchs since the outbreak of war.
Federal law requires that prosecutors first prove the assets are proceeds of crime before they can be sold. It is currently not illegal to be a Russian sanctioned oligarch.
According to legal scholars, the possibility that oligarchs can sue to recover their property without having committed a crime is possible. They would also have a strong chance of being successful in court. Biden’s proposed legislation would make it a federal crime to knowingly possess proceeds from corruption with Russia.
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