White House warns only enough Ukraine funding for ‘urgent battlefield needs’


(WASHINGTON) — The White House warned Monday that the U.S. has only enough money to meet Ukraine’s “urgent battlefield needs” in the short term, after Congress left additional funding for Ukraine out of a short-term measure to fund the U.S. government.

The federal government has about $6 billion left in military funding for Ukraine, according to U.S. officials.

“It is enough to — for us to meet the — meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield needs for a bit — for a bit longer,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday.

About $5.4 billion of the funding is set aside to provide to provide weapons and other military equipment to Ukraine from existing American stocks, the officials said. That money resulted from an accounting error the Pentagon said it fixed earlier this year, an official said.

Another $1.6 billion remains from $25.9 billion Congress had previously provided to replenish those U.S. stocks, the officials said.

No money remains in a program meant to help Ukraine with long-term, new purchases of weapons and other material, known as the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the officials said. And the U.S. has no money left to provide additional funding for Ukraine’s humanitarian, budgetary or economic needs, an official said.

The Pentagon has in recent days warned that money is running low — and that Congress’s fight over aid had impacted the U.S. military, too.

“We have already been forced to slow down the replenishment of our own forces to hedge against an uncertain funding future,” Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord wrote to congressional leaders on Friday. “Failure to replenish our military services on a timely basis could harm our military’s readiness.”

President Joe Biden also cautioned on Sunday that “we have time, not much time, and there’s an overwhelming sense of urgency.”

His administration had asked for $24 billion more for Ukraine to cover the last three months of the calendar year. When Republicans signaled they would agree to extend government funding for just 45 more days – which Congress ultimately did — the White House said it needed $6 billion for that month-and-a-half.

But the short-term bill that kept the government funded through mid-November did not include any new money for Ukraine.

Taking questions about Congress narrowly averting a government shutdown over the weekend, Biden was asked if he was “going to be able to trust Speaker McCarthy when the next deal comes around.”

“We just made one about Ukraine,” Biden replied. “So, we’ll find out.”

But the president did not elaborate.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, has sought to oust McCarthy from his speakership and accused the Republican leader of striking a “secret side deal” with Biden over Ukraine funding.”

McCarthy on Monday denied that he cut a deal with Biden to hold a vote on Ukraine aid, but rather said he promised White House officials could meet with congressional staff to discuss the president’s request for more aid for Ukraine.

Jean-Pierre on Monday repeatedly declined to clarify what deal Biden had been referring to, or even say if Biden and McCarthy had even made some sort of deal. She also declined to say if the two had spoken in the past two weeks about Ukraine aid.

“When it relates to what the president said, I’m certainly not going to go beyond what he said,” Jean-Pierre told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Mary Bruce. “But what we know, what we know is that there’s bipartisan support for this deal.”

She said McCarthy had spoken publicly “multiple times” on Sunday “saying that he wants to– he certainly wants to continue to– support for Ukraine, to get the weapons that they need.

“We’re gonna hold him to that,” Jean-Pierre said. “That is something that he has said. That is a commitment that he has made.”

ABC News’ Luis Martinez, John Parkinson and Lauren Peller contributed to this report.

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