Democrats will make a separate $10 billion coronavirus funding proposal so the nearly $40 billion in weapons and other aid to Ukraine could get approved more quickly ahead of a “critical” deadline, US President Joe Biden said on Monday.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) originally had funding for Covid-19 treatments, tests and vaccines tacked onto the $33 billion proposal for supplemental aid to Ukraine. Republicans, who fully backed funding Ukraine but had a problem with how the Covid funding proposal would affect border policy, threatened to block it in the Senate.
In a statement on Monday, Biden said he would accept splitting the bill if that would get the Ukraine funds – which have since grown by another $6.8 billion – approved faster.
“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.
“This aid has been critical to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield. We cannot allow our shipments of assistance to stop while we await further Congressional action. We are approximately ten days from hitting this critical deadline,” he added.