Updated Dec 5, 2023 - World

Mike Johnson: Biden admin lacks "clear strategy" in request for more Ukraine aid

House Speaker Mike Johnson.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), speaks at a press conference about the House Republicans' impeachment inquiry into President Biden on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) says the Biden administration has failed to address Republicans' concerns about a "lack of clear strategy" in Ukraine even as it asks Congress to approve for more aid for the country.

Why it matters: Aid for Ukraine's defense against the ongoing Russian invasion has become an increasingly contentious topic among Republicans in Congress as the White House has pushed for continued military assistance.

  • "The Biden Administration has failed to substantively address any of my conference's legitimate concerns about the lack of a clear strategy in Ukraine, a path to resolving the conflict, or a plan for adequately ensuring accountability for aid provided by American taxpayers," Johnson said in a statement Monday.
  • Johnson, who has previously voiced his support for additional aid, added the House GOP believes a national security supplemental package should "begin with our own border."

State of play: The White House on Monday urged Congress to approve additional funding for weapons and assistance to Ukraine, noting that failing to do so could "kneecap" Kyiv.

  • "We are out of money—and nearly out of time," Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders.
  • The U.S. "will run out of resources" to support Ukraine by the end of the year if Congress doesn't approve additional emergency funds, per Young. Cutting off aid to Ukraine increases the chance of Russian victories and will let "autocracy prevail," she added.
  • President Biden's $106 billion proposed package for Israel and Ukraine has faced resistance among some in the GOP over its linking of funding for the two countries.
  • Johnson reiterated his stance linking border funding to Ukraine aid in a response to Young's letter sent Tuesday.
  • In his letter, he demands the Senate take up an immigration bill that House Republicans passed earlier this year, which the Senate and White House have called a nonstarter.

The big picture: U.S. aid packages for Ukraine have already been shrinking.

  • While U.S. allies have attempted to bolster aid to Ukraine, "U.S. support is critical and cannot be replicated by others," Young said.
  • Young also emphasized Ukrainian aid has led to domestic benefits, including "good-paying jobs in dozens of states across the country."
  • She also said the periodic aid packages have helped the U.S. improve its own military readiness, because the Department of Defense has bought new equipment to replace supplies sent to Ukraine.

Zoom out: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned last week of the danger that the Israel-Hamas war could overshadow Russia's war against Ukraine.

  • Already, some aid intended for Ukraine had been diverted to Israel.
  • As Ukraine prepares for another winter of war, one of the country's top generals warned last month that its counteroffensive against Russia had reached a stalemate.

What to watch: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) promised to hold a vote on the matter as soon as this week.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a statement from Johnson and details from a response he sent to Young's letter.

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