Pelosi says Congress will provide any economic help Ukraine needs
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed Monday that Congress will approve as much emergency funding for Ukraine as is necessary amid Russia’s unprovoked attack on the government in Kyiv.
The Biden administration has requested $6.4 billion in new spending to boost Ukraine’s military defenses and tackle the growing humanitarian crisis as Russian troops move en masse toward Kyiv and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing to safety across borders.
Pelosi on Monday stopped short of endorsing that specific request, but emphasized that Congress is poised to provide the emergency funds quickly.
“We’ll have to see what the need is and whatever it is, we’ll support it,” Pelosi told several reporters in the Capitol. “We’ll see what the president sends down.”
The administration’s request would provide roughly $3.5 billion in new military spending, and an additional $2.9 billion for the State Department, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, to provide help for refugees.
Some lawmakers on Capitol Hill want to combine the nascent emergency spending bill with a larger package to fund the government through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends on Oct. 1. After several short-term funding extensions, government funding is scheduled to expire on March 11, and supporters of that plan see it as a way to sweeten the larger bill and stave off a potential government shutdown.
Asked about the timing of a vote on the emergency spending, Pelosi was non-committal.
“We can’t vote until we have a number,” she said. “We’ll see what the president has to say tomorrow night” during his State of the Union address.
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Rules Committee, predicted there would be broad bipartisan support for the emergency funding, given that the backlash to the deadly Russian invasion has cut broadly across party lines. But with events moving so quickly in Ukraine, he added, Congress can’t sit on the bill for too long.
“Obviously, time is of the essence,” he said.