Biden, cost of war, Countering Russian disinformation and propaganda, eastern Europe, economic assistance, European Security, humanitarian assistance, KleptoCapture Task force, military assistance, mining reform 1872 mining law, NATO, Russian invasion Ukraine, Ukraine, US Congress, US Defense Department, White House
“FACT SHEET: White House Calls on Congress to Provide Additional Support for Ukraine
APRIL 28, 2022 STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
The assistance the Biden-Harris Administration has provided to Ukraine to date has made a significant difference on the battlefield, helping Ukrainians defend their country and win the battle for Kyiv. Now, as the war shifts to and intensifies in Ukraine’s eastern front, the Biden-Harris Administration is calling on Congress to provide additional resources to help ensure Ukraine’s democracy prevails over Putin’s aggression. The supplemental resources Congress provided on a bipartisan basis in March have been critical to bolstering security in Eastern Europe, countering Russia’s malign activities in the region, and delivering critical humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine and neighboring partners. Almost all of the $3.5 billion in drawdown authority Congress provided in March has been exhausted as the Biden-Harris Administration has surged military assistance to Ukraine, which they have used to great effect. U.S. supplied weapons and ammunitions – including anti-tank and anti-air systems, helicopters, drones, grenade launchers, and more than 50 million rounds of ammunition – have been flowing into Ukraine daily, and the United States has been working with allies and partners to facilitate deliveries of additional weapons capabilities. The Defense Department has also used $1 billion in supplemental resources to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and bolster NATO’s security posture to deter Russian aggression.
At the same time, the Administration is delivering humanitarian, economic, food, and other security assistance to Ukraine and the region. This includes roughly $1.7 billion to ensure continuity of Ukraine’s democratic operations and provide other macroeconomic assistance to the region. It also includes $650 million in military assistance to Ukraine, eastern flank countries, and other partners in the region, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in food, shelter, and other humanitarian aid to help Ukrainians who have been displaced by Russia’s war. Supplemental resources are also supporting efforts to hold Putin and his cronies accountable for their war of choice, helping the United States seize billions in assets and holdings.
Continued bipartisan support in Congress is vital to ensuring that the Ukrainian people have the resources they need to win this war, and this Administration is committed to working with lawmakers and our global allies and partners to keep aid flowing to Ukraine uninterrupted and to support those devastated by the food crisis that Putin’s war has exacerbated. The $33 billion in security, economic, and humanitarian aid requested today will: Help Ukraine Defend Itself Over the Long-Term The Administration is requesting $20.4 billion in additional security and military assistance for Ukraine and for U.S. efforts to strengthen European security in cooperation with our NATO allies and other partners in the region. This includes $5 billion in additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program. These resources will put urgently needed equipment into the hands of Ukraine’s military and police, as well as help NATO deter and defend against Russian aggression over the long-term.
These additional resources will be used to provide Ukraine and Eastern flank allies with:
* Additional artillery, armored vehicles, anti-armor and anti-air capabilities flowing into Ukraine uninterrupted.
* Accelerated cyber capabilities and advanced air defense systems, improved production capabilities for munitions and strategic minerals, and increased intelligence support.
* Assistance to clear landmines, improvised explosive devices, and other explosive remnants of war and for the Government of Ukraine in securing and addressing threats related to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear materials.
* A stronger NATO security posture through support for U.S. troop deployments on NATO territory, including transportation of U.S. personnel and equipment, temporary duty, special pay, airlift, weapons system sustainment, and medical support.
Additional Economic Aid to Support Democracy in Ukraine
The Administration is calling on Congress to provide an additional $8.5 billion in economic assistance to help the Government of Ukraine respond to the immediate crisis and continue to provide basic citizen services. This includes funds to:
* Ensure Ukraine’s democratic government continues functioning; support food, energy, and health care services for the Ukrainian people; and assist the Ukrainian government in responding to operational challenges as businesses shutter and revenue collection plummets.
* Counter Russian disinformation and propaganda narratives, promote accountability for Russian human rights violation, and support activists, journalists, and independent media to defend freedom of expression.
* Support small- and medium- sized agrobusinesses during the fall harvest and for natural gas purchases by the Ukrainian state energy company in order to address critical food security, energy, and other emerging needs in Ukraine.
Address Humanitarian Needs due to Russia’s War
The $3 billion in additional humanitarian assistance will provide critical resources to address food security needs around the globe, provide wheat and other commodities to people in need, build countries’ resilience to global food supply and price shocks, and provide lifesaving aid to people displaced by or otherwise impacted by Putin’s War in Ukraine. This funding will mean:
* Direct food support, including wheat and flour, for individuals in developing countries impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as helping countries build more resilient agricultural systems.
* Medical supplies, high thermal blankets, emergency health kits, safe drinking water, shelter materials, and other lifesaving humanitarian assistance for Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s war.
* Job training, trauma-informed mental health services, and resources for local school districts to support Ukrainians arriving in the United States, including the new Uniting for Ukraine program.
Bolster Sanctions Enforcement
Resources will also bolster the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture Task force efforts to pursue high value asset seizures from sanctioned individuals related to Russian actions in Ukraine. The Administration is also proposing legislation to streamline the process to recoup proceeds from seized and forfeited assets and use them to remediate the harm caused in Ukraine.
Addressing Economic Disruptions at Home and Around the World Due to Putin’s Aggression
An additional $500 million in domestic food production assistance will support the production of U.S. food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, for example, wheat and soybeans. Through higher loan rates and crop insurance incentives the request provides greater access to credit and lowers risk for farmers growing these food commodities, while lowering costs for American consumers.
Additional funding will also allow use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of critical minerals and materials that have been disrupted by Putin’s war in Ukraine and that are necessary to make everything from defense systems to automobiles. This will help address economic disruptions and reduce price pressures at home and around the world.” https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/04/28/fact-sheet-white-house-calls-on-congress-to-provide-additional-support-for-ukraine/
Mining companies do NOT need to be given money to mine. Just because a mining company operates in the US doesn’t mean it’s a US company, either. Remember the Uranium One fiasco, where a Canadian registered uranium mining company, with US mines, was sold to Russia? Mining companies already don’t even pay royalties under the 1872 mining law, which needs reform: “Regulation of hardrock mineral extraction in the United States has remained virtually unchanged for 150 years, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed the General Mining Act of 1872 into law. This antiquated system has allowed mining companies to extract more than $300 billion worth of gold, silver, copper, and other valuable minerals from U.S. public lands without paying a cent in federal royalties to the American people. These same companies have left the public with billions of dollars in cleanup costs for abandoned hardrock mines, which have polluted 40% of the headwaters of western watersheds. Many Indigenous communities’ sacred sites and lands are continuously at-risk of being permanently destroyed by mining.“. https://naturalresources.house.gov/media/press-releases/chair-grijalva-sen-heinrich-introduce-legislation-to-modernize-antiquated-mining-law-protect-taxpayers
Furthermore, it takes time to build mines.
IF AMERICANS WOULD STOP SPREADING KREMLIN LIES, TAXPAYERS COULD SAVE MONEY, AND LIVES MAY BE SPARED.
Compare to other recent wars here: “U.S Military Spending: The Cost of Wars” by Anthony H. Cordesman, Revised July 10, 2017, CSIS. See especially p. 49: https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/170710_Cost_War_AHC.pdf
“U.S Military Spending: The Cost of Wars” https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-military-spending-cost-wars
“Letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on Fiscal Year 2022 Emergency Supplemental Funding APRIL 28, 2022
STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
Dear Madam Speaker: I am writing to provide you with my request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 emergency supplemental funding for critical security and economic assistance to Ukraine. I appreciate the Congress’ continued bipartisan support for Ukraine, NATO, and other partner countries affected by Russia’s War in Ukraine. My Administration is committed to providing the Ukrainian people the assistance they need. Our assistance to date has made a difference on the battlefield, helping Ukraine win the battle for Kyiv. This $33.0 billion request for additional funding and authority builds on the Congress’ supplemental appropriation of $13.6 billion on March 15, 2022, and seeks to address immediate and near-term security and economic needs. Additional security assistance will put urgently needed equipment into the hands of Ukraine’s military and police, including ammunition, armored vehicles, small arms, demining assistance, and unmanned aircraft systems. Economic assistance will provide Direct Budget Support to provide rapid, flexible funds to assist the Government of Ukraine in responding to the immediate crisis and continue to provide basic citizen services. Additional food security and humanitarian assistance will provide wheat and other commodities to people in need, build countries’ resilience to global food supply and price shocks, and provide lifesaving aid to people displaced by or otherwise impacted by Russia’s War in Ukraine. Additionally, the request includes funding to support the production of United States food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, for example, wheat and soybeans helping to address rising food prices here at home and around the world. The request also would help increase domestic production for strategic minerals and materials produced in Russia or Ukraine and respond to global shortfalls and reduce price pressures. The request also outlines a number of authorities needed to support Ukraine, our European allies and partners, and address other emergent global needs. The details of this request are set forth in an enclosed addendum. Though we expect our NATO allies and EU partners will be making even larger collective contributions than the United States, there is no doubt that continuing to support Ukraine in this war against Russian aggression will require a substantial additional investment on our part. What I want to make clear to the Congress and the American people is this: the cost of failing to stand up to violent aggression in Europe has always been higher than the cost of standing firm against such attacks. That is as it always has been, and as it always will be. America must meet this moment, and do its part. In addition to the legislative proposals in this package, my Administration is also sending a proposal to the Congress to enhance the United States’ ability to hold Russia accountable financially for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. These proposals would strengthen our whole-of-government approach — along with those of our international partners — by providing for expanded and expedited measures for investigating, prosecuting, and forfeiting assets of Russian oligarchs to be used for the benefit of Ukraine. Finally, I also appreciate the Congress’ bipartisan support for ensuring we can continue to provide the American people with the tools they need to protect themselves from COVID-19, and again urge the Congress to act promptly to provide the $22.5 billion I requested on March 2, 2022. Without additional funding, we are unable to purchase additional life-saving treatments for the American people, and we are losing our spot in line to other countries for vaccines that may provide better and more durable protection against multiple variants. We also must stop the spread of possible new variants from around the world as every COVID variant has emerged from overseas. We have to keep vaccinating the world to save lives here at home and protect our economy from further supply chain disruptions, but we need funding to help get shots into arms. To avoid needless deaths in the United States and around the world, I urge the Congress to include this much needed, life-saving COVID funding as part of this supplemental funding request. I urge the Congress to address these critical and urgent needs promptly. The amounts included in this request are requested to be designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 4001(a)(1) and section 4001(b) of S. Con. Res. 14 (117th Congress), the concurrent resolution on the budget for FY 2022.
Sincerely, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.“ https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/04/28/letter-to-the-speaker-of-the-house-of-representatives-on-fiscal-year-2022-emergency-supplemental-funding/
“Background Press Call by Senior Administration Officials on the Ukraine Supplemental Budget Request APRIL 28, 2022
•STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
9:35 A.M. EDT
MR. HASAN: Good morning, everyone. This is Abdullah from OMB. Thanks for joining us on this call to discuss the Ukraine supplemental budget request. As a reminder, this call is on background, attributable to “administration officials,” and embargoed until 10:30 a.m. today.
For your awareness, but not for reporting purposes, joining us on the call today are [senior administration officials] and [senior administration official]. We also have additional officials available to answer questions as needed.
I will, however, just note at the top that, unfortunately, we do have a hard stop at 9:45. So we may not have a lot of time to get through questions, but we will try to get to as many as we can.
With that, I will turn it over to our first administration official.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks, everybody, for joining. From before this conflict began, we have laid out and now implemented a three-part strategy:
We have imposed powerful sanctions and unprecedented export controls on Russia.
We have bolstered NATO’s force posture on the eastern flank.
And we have provided robust military and other assistance to Ukraine as it sought to defend its territory from an outrageous and unlawful Russian attack.
To meet this responsibility, over the course of the last two months, Congress appropriated and the President allocated roughly $14 billion in funding for security, humanitarian, and economic support that has allowed the United States to respond to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine at a scope, scale, and speed that has never been seen before.
Despite having no boots on the ground, our assistance has made a significant difference on the battlefield, helping the brave citizens of Ukraine to win the Battle of Kyiv and to continue to deplete the Russian military.
These funds have also helped us to reinforce the eastern flank of NATO, maintain the unity of the Alliance in the face of Russian efforts to divide us, impose severe consequences on Russia and its enablers, and collect and provide intelligence so that our allies and partners have awareness of Russian intention.
As you know, the conflict has now entered a different phase, and one that is no less dangerous, as Russia shifts the focus of its assault to Ukraine’s south and east.
As we have said, this fight could well last months or more. This conflict will continue to test our unity and our collective resolve to provide Ukraine what it needs to succeed.
Thanks to the generosity of Americans and the leadership of President Biden, the United States has delivered, making us by far the largest supporter of Ukraine. The American people should be proud of that, but America and our allies must continue to deliver.
Today, the President will speak about the critical resources required for the United States to maintain our high level of assistance over the months to come. The President’s funding request is what we believe is needed to enable Ukraine’s success over the next five months of this war. And we have every expectation that our partners and allies, particularly those of the G7, as well as many other countries, will continue to provide comparable levels of assistance going forward so that each of us is doing our part.
My colleague will go over the specific assistance in the request with you next. The assistance includes funds that will allow us to ensure Ukraine has the weapons it needs to wage this fight, replenish our own stockpiles of key systems, help other countries to shift away from a dependence on Russian weapons, enable Ukraine’s government to continue performing basic functions, address food insecurity exacerbated by Russia’s war of aggression, and support Ukrainian refugees and the countries that are providing them sanctuary.
Also, as part of our effort to continue supporting Ukraine, President Biden will send a proposal for a comprehensive legislative package to make it easier to seize the assets of Russian oligarchs and elites, expand assets subject to seizure, and enable the proceeds to flow to Ukraine.
We look forward to working with Congress on this. And as you know, the United States has already been working with Allies and partners to track down assets all over the world. For example, Treasury has sanctioned and blocked vessels and aircraft worth over a billion dollars, as well as frozen hundreds of millions of dollars of assets belonging to Russian elites in U.S. bank accounts.
And earlier this month, the Department of Justice announced that Spain seized a 255-foot, $90 million yacht of sanctioned Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg at the request of the United States.
This war will not end easily or rapidly, but the free world is united against this brutal invasion and we must continue to be in the best position possible to respond to a variety of scenarios. President Biden will call on Congress to keep this up. Thanks.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So, thanks, [senior administration official]. And good morning, everyone. Let me quickly walk through the three key areas of this $33 billion supplemental request.
So, first, we’re calling on Congress to provide over $20 billion in military and other security assistance to keep weapons and ammunition flowing to the Ukrainian people. And this includes $5 billion in additional drawdown authority, $6 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, and $4 billion for the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program.
Second, we’re calling on Congress to provide an additional $8.5 billion in economic assistance to help the government of Ukraine respond to the immediate crisis and continue to provide basic services to the Ukrainian people.
And third, we’re seeking — this provides $3 billion in additional humanitarian assistance and food security funding. And these resources will provide wheat and other commodities to people in need, build countries’ resilience to the global food supply and price shock, and provide lifesaving aid to displaced people — people displaced by Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Finally, I want to highlight that this request also includes targeted funding to address economic disruptions at home and around the world due to Putin’s aggression. And that includes helping increase U.S. production of food crops, such as wheat and soybeans, and funding to allow the use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of critical reserves — of reserves of critical minerals and materials that have been disrupted by Putin’s war and are necessary to make everything from defense systems to cars.
So let me just close there. Can we have time for questions? And I just want to say that continued bipartisan support in Congress is vital to ensuring the Ukrainian people have the resources they need to win this war, and the administration is committed to working with lawmakers in both parties and our global allies and partners to keep that aid flowing to Ukraine uninterrupted.
So let me hand it back to Abdullah.
MR. HASAN: Thank you. And we will be ready to take questions now, Moderator. But just a heads up for reporters who will ask, “Where is the factsheet?”: Don’t waste your question on that. It’s coming to you shortly after this call. But with that, let’s go ahead and take questions.
Q Hey, guys, thank you. Can you drill down on the seizing of Russian assets? As, of course, you know, there’s some concerns about due process on this, and the House bill had to be watered down. Do you think you are able to, today, seize ill-gotten gains and transfer them to Ukraine?
And a bit of a strategic question on the war: Do you think — in terms of the $20 billion they’re using for the weapons and requests from Europe to backfill that — that this is an opportunity for Eastern European countries to get more advanced weapons and indeed for Ukraine to get more integrated into Western and NATO weapons systems? Thanks.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Thanks. I’ll answer the second question, and then I’ll turn it over to a colleague to answer the first question.
So, on sort of how the $20 billion will be used in the ways that you describe: You know, we have said from the beginning that while Russia had every intention of weakening and dividing the NATO Alliance, we fully expect and are using every resource we have available to us to do exactly the opposite. And we’re already seeing that outcome. The Alliance is far more unified, we believe, than it has been at any time in recent memory.
And Alliance members are fully committed to this fight, contributing directly, nearly all of them, to Ukraine’s efforts to defend its country, including through the provision of security assistance. That does deplete some of these countries’ supplies. We are discussing with them various ways in which we can help make sure that they are — continue to be able to defend themselves fully. And some of this funding will go toward that effort. And we’ll have more to say about it as this fight goes on.
I’ll turn it now over to my colleague on the first question.
SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yeah, I guess I’ll start with the end of the question. The Department of Justice has authorities today that allow it to seize assets that are involved in certain criminal wrongdoing. And they’ve exercised that authority to seize assets of Russian oligarchs, including the yacht that [senior administration official] referred to earlier in his opening comments”. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/04/28/background-press-call-by-senior-administration-officials-on-the-ukraine-supplemental-budget-request/