Updated Feb 9, 2024 - Politics & Policy

“Close to criminal neglect”: Biden calls on Congress to secure Ukraine aid

biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sits next to President Biden during a bilateral meeting at the White House on Feb. 9. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

President Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated their support for Ukraine during a bilateral meeting at the White House on Friday.

The big picture: Biden used the meeting to pressure GOP lawmakers, calling on Congress to pass a national security spending package with aid to Ukraine, saying a failure to do so would be "close to criminal neglect."

Between the lines: There are bipartisan concerns that if the U.S. does not manage to secure additional funding, Ukraine could face defeat at the hands of Russian forces in the coming months.

What they're saying: Biden said House members are reluctant to include funding for Ukraine "and to help them continue to be able to defend themselves against the brutal aggression of Russia."

  • "The failure of the United States Congress, if it occurs, not to support Ukraine, is close to criminal neglect," Biden said, adding, "It is outrageous."
  • Scholz, for his part, said, "Without the support of United States, and without the support of the European states, Ukraine will have not a chance to defend its own country."

Zoom out: Ahead of his White House meeting, Scholz warned in the Wall Street Journal that the costs of allowing Ukraine to fall would "dwarf any of the investments that we are making now."

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