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Biden seeks nearly $40 billion in funding for Ukraine, disaster relief and border

US President Joe Biden speaks on how “Bidenomics” is helping clean energy and manufacturing, at Arcosa Wind Towers in Belen, New Mexico, on August 9, 2023. 

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON  The White House unveiled a nearly $40 billion supplemental funding request on Thursday to provide additional aid to Ukraine and respond to natural disasters, including wildland firefighter pay and border management.

The White House is seeking $12 billion for ongoing disaster relief, $60 million to cover pay increases for firefighters and $3.9 billion to address border and migration issues.

The request came as federal agencies, led by FEMA, mobilized to respond to deadly wildfires in Hawaii that already claimed three dozen lives. President Joe Biden said FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell would be on Maui by Friday, but he warned the danger is “not over yet.”

Biden’s request also seeks over $24 billion in additional funding for Ukraine’s slow-moving defense against Russia’s illegal invasion.

In the nearly 18 months since Russian troops poured over Ukrainian borders, the U.S. has unleashed a war chest worth more than $43 billion to bolster Kyiv’s arsenal.

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Ukrainian soldier with call-sign Ryba, which means “fish” in English, stands on the vehicle with a homemade four-tube multiple rocket launcher n Kryvyi Rih on September 28, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Genya Savilov | Afp | Getty Images

“For people that might be concerned that the costs financially are getting too high, you know, we would ask them to consider what those costs — not just in treasure but in blood, perhaps even American blood — if Putin subjugates Ukraine and then sets his sights on our NATO allies,” Kirby said in a Wednesday teleconference with reporters.

“If we just sit back and let Putin win, if we let him take Ukraine, where does it stop next?”

“We have seen throughout this war solid support from the American people, solid support from the Congress in a bipartisan and a bicameral way, for continuing to support Ukraine, and we’re going to stay focused on that,” Kirby added.

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