‘We need Congress to act’

The Pentagon on Tuesday warned the U.S. cannot sustain support for Ukraine too much longer without additional funding, urging Congress to act on a new aid package.

Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said the U.S. has $5.4 billion left to pull from Defense Department stocks and $1.6 billion available to replenish its inventory.

There is no money left for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allowed the Pentagon to purchase weapons directly from the defense industry.

Singh said a Pentagon team is “constantly” engaging with Congress to get another package for Ukraine passed.

“We have seen bipartisan support for Ukraine in Congress and we urge members of Congress to keep their commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure the passage of support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment,” she said at a briefing.

The Biden administration was dismayed after a short-term funding bill to keep the government funded until Nov. 17 did not include any new funding for Ukraine.

Ukraine is struggling in its counteroffensive against Russia in the southeast and will need to maintain a steady supply of ammunition, weapons and equipment from western allies to make more progress.

President Biden has warned that time is running out to get Ukraine the weapons it needs.

“We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” he said in a statement after signing the short-term bill. “I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.”

The failure to include any more funding in the latest package is largely because of opposition from a band of far-right lawmakers in the House, who have leverage over Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Congress has not approved Ukraine aid since December, when lawmakers passed the final of four packages that delivered a total of $113 billion in support for all of Kyiv’s needs. That included about $47 billion in direct security assistance.

Pentagon Comptroller Michael McCord recently sent a letter to Congress saying the U.S. has “been forced to slow down the replenishment of our own forces to hedge against an uncertain funding future.”

McCord also said the U.S. might soon have to curtail delivery of critical defense weapons for Ukraine, according to the Associated Press, which obtained the letter.

Singh on Tuesday said the Pentagon could meet Ukraine’s “battlefield needs for just a little bit longer.”

“We need Congress to act to ensure there is no disruption in our support,” she said.

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