The White House has said it is “out of money and nearly out of time” to provide more weapons to Ukraine as it tries to ward off Russia’s invasion unless Congress acts to approve additional funding and support.
The warning, issued on Monday in a letter to congressional leaders, laid out how the government had already gone through about $111bn appropriated for Ukraine military aid.
“I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from US military stocks,” Shalanda Young, director of the office of management and budget, wrote in the letter, parts of which were published by the Hill.
The latest plea for money comes after the White House asked Congress to act on a $100bn supplemental funding request in October, arguing that it “advances our national security and supports our allies and partners”.
The request identified border security, allies in the Indo-Pacific, Israel and Ukraine. About $61bn covered money for Ukraine, which included $30bn to restock defense department equipment sent to support the country after Russia invaded in February 2022.
In the letter to leaders in the House and Senate, Young said a failure to provide more funding would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories”.
Young added that there is “no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment.
We are out of money – and nearly out of time,” Young said.
The Pentagon, she said, had used 97% of the $62.3bn it received as of mid-November. And the state department had run through all of the $4.7bn in military assistance it received, including money for humanitarian assistance and economic and civilian security assistance.
“We are out of money to support Ukraine in this fight. This isn’t a next year problem,” she added. “The time to help a democratic Ukraine fight against Russian aggression is right now. It is time for Congress to act.”
The Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, said last week he was confident Ukraine and Israel funding would be approved. But he said the two should be handled separately, with the Ukraine funding linked to changes in US border policy – a red line for many Democrats.
“Of course, we can’t allow Vladimir Putin to march through Europe. And we understand the necessity of assisting there,” Johnson said last week. “If there is to be additional assistance to Ukraine – which most members of Congress believe is important – we have to also work on changing our own border policy.”
The latest pressure to approve additional funding comes as an unreleased draft of a new Pentagon report on the defense industry was leaked to Politico.
The National Defense Industrial Strategy, which is set to be released in the coming weeks by the Pentagon, warned that the US defense industrial base “does not possess the capacity, capability, responsiveness, or resilience required to satisfy the full range of military production needs at speed and scale”.
It noted the US built the best weapons in the world, but it could not produce them quickly enough. “This mismatch presents a growing strategic risk as the United States confronts the imperatives of supporting active combat operations,” the study said.
Separately over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US had provided Israel with 100 bunker buster bombs, roughly 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells since Israel was attacked by Hamas on 7 October.