Aid to Kyiv could be cut short if Congress does not pass $40 billion spending package by May 19, Pentagon says
The flow of US arms to Ukraine could be halted, at least temporarily, unless Congress quickly approves nearly $40 billion in new spending to help kyiv repel the Russian offensive in the former republic. Soviet, warned the Pentagon.
“May 19 is the day that we, without additional permissions, begin to lose the ability to send new stuff. . .” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday. “By May 19, this will begin to impact our ability to provide uninterrupted aid.”
Weapons shipments to Kyiv would not stop immediately on May 20 without new funding, as there would still be supplies in the pipeline purchased as part of the roughly $100 million in spending authority the Pentagon has. currently for Ukraine aid, Kirby said. However, he added, but losing its ability to procure new cargo, the Pentagon would face “a period of time without moving anything” if there is a prolonged delay in approving new funding.
“We’ve been moving at a fairly rapid pace here, both in terms of the individual packages that have been approved and how quickly those items are getting into the hands of the Ukrainians,” said Kirby. “Literally every day there are things happening, and we would like to continue to be able to continue at this rate for as long as possible.”
Washington’s latest aid package for Ukraine, valued at $39.8 billion, was overwhelmingly approved by the House on Tuesday night, but the Senate failed in its efforts to fast-track the project’s approval of law Thursday. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) opposed unanimous consent — a provision that allows bills with strong bipartisan support to be put to a quick vote without debate — after the majority leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer (D-New York) refused to add language to an aid law requiring that an inspector general be appointed to oversee how the money is spent.
Schumer criticized Paul for opposing the rapid approval of the massive aid package and argued that Washington had a “moral obligation” to help Ukraine fight Russian forces. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also pushed for an immediate vote on the bill, but Paul’s objection meant passage would be delayed until next week at the earliest.
Paul argued that Americans are already “feel the pain” an inflation crisis, which he said was driven by excessive deficit spending, “and Congress seems determined to only add to that pain by pushing more money out the door as fast as it can.” He added, “We cannot save Ukraine by dooming the American economy.”
US running out of guns – Congressman
Kirby reiterated a request from the Pentagon to provide new funding to Ukraine by the third week of May. “Obviously, we continue to urge the Senate to act as quickly as possible so that we don’t get to the end of May and have additional authorities to fall back on.”
Although the aid bill passed the House with the support of all but 57 Democrats and Republicans, the vote revealed growing division on the issue on the GOP side of the aisle. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) hailed the bill as a way to fund a proxy war against Russia, “invest in destroying our adversary’s army without losing a single American troop.”
Critics, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), countered that anti-Russian sanctions only exacerbated a US inflation crisis and that prioritizing aid to Ukraine diverted the attention to larger national issues. “While you’re spending $40 billion on your proxy war on Russia, my focus is on formula for American babies,” she said to Crenshaw.
Paul noted that the latest spending package will bring total US aid to Ukraine to $60 billion since the conflict began in February, almost as much as Russia spends annually on its entire defense budget. .