May 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden tells Congress to split Ukraine and COVID funding packages

President Joe Biden delivers a speech.
President Biden. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

President Biden on Monday highlighted the urgency surrounding respective measures to provide funding to Ukraine in its war against Russia and for COVID-19 relief money at home — and he told Congress in a statement he doesn't want them packaged together.

The big picture: Biden said U.S. aid shipments to Ukraine will end in about 10 days if Congress doesn't act. At the same time, "more Americans will die needlessly" if legislators don't approve the COVID-19 funding soon, Biden wrote.

  • The president called on Congress to get aid for Ukraine over the line "immediately, and get it to my desk in the next few days. And then, I urge Congress to move promptly on the COVID funding bill."
  • Context: Republican leaders had said they'd block the Ukraine funds if they were linked to COVID appropriations. Biden says he wants to separate the two measures to speed up their approval.

What he's saying: "We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort. Hence, I am prepared to accept that these two measures move separately so that the Ukrainian aid bill can get to my desk right away," Biden said.

  • He continued: "[A]s vital as it is to help Ukraine combat Russian aggression, it is equally vital to help Americans combat COVID."
  • "We will lose our place in line for America to order new COVID treatments and vaccines for the fall, including next-generation vaccines under development, and be unable to maintain our supply of COVID tests," he said.

Zoom out: Administration officials have warned the U.S. could see 100 million new COVID-19 infections this fall and winter, CNN reports.

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