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White House requests $37.7 billion in Ukraine funding, $10 billion for Covid

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U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne carry military equipment as they take part in an exercise outside the operating base at the Arlamow Airport on March 7th, 2022 in Wola Korzeniecka, Poland.

Omar Marques | Getty Images

The White House is requesting nearly $40 billion in new funding from Congress to support Ukraine and an additional $10 billion for pandemic relief.

The figure includes $21.7 billion for defense purposes like equipment and military support, $14.5 billion in direct funding for the country’s government and humanitarian aid, $626 million in energy assistance and $900 million for health care.

“Since the beginning of Putin’s war, the United States has rallied the world to support Ukraine,” Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting the funds. “Together, with strong, bipartisan support in Congress, we have provided significant assistance that has been critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield — and we cannot let that support run dry.”

Roughly three-quarters of the funding previously approved by Congress has already been spent with more slated to be used before the end of the year, according to administration officials. The amount includes funding to address energy and food shortages as a result of the war.

Prior to the midterm elections, congressional Republicans suggested aid to Ukraine could be cut were they to win the majority. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is expected to become speaker if Republicans retake the House of Representatives as projected, said last month that Ukraine funding could be pared down if he’s in the majority. Other House Republicans like Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene said at the beginning of the month “not another penny will go to Ukraine” under Republican leadership.

President Joe Biden has criticized the suggestion.

“These guys don’t get it. It’s a lot bigger than Ukraine,” Biden said in response McCarthy’s remarks last month. “It’s Eastern Europe. It’s NATO. It’s really serious, serious consequential outcomes.”

The formal funding request also includes $9.25 billion for Covid-19 relief and $750 million to address other infectious diseases. The White House is requesting $2.5 billion for Covid-19 vaccine access and replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile, $5 billion for further vaccine development, $750 million for long Covid research and $1 billion to international aid combatting the virus.

Administration officials argue the funding is necessary to prevent a potential surge in cases this winter.

“Failure to provide more funding would lead to needless infections and deaths across the nation and around the world,” Young warned.

The White House also requested an unspecified amount for natural disaster relief to help Florida and Puerto Rico rebuild from Hurricanes Ian and Fiona.