America Wants to Help Ukraine, But It’s Too Little, Too Late

Congress wants to spend a lot more money to aid Ukraine’s army in its fight against Russia. It’s possible, though, that any additional funds won’t make a difference.

America Could Do More

Biden did not disclose plans to petition lawmakers for extra authority or funds; his government has begun putting tough sanctions on Russia’s infrastructure.

The US also continues to deliver weaponry to Kyiv, as Vladimir Putin pummels Ukraine. Many on Capitol Hill appear prepared to let the White House decide the United States’ reaction to the continued onslaught.

The resultant dynamic over extra aid to Ukraine might end up in the same place as the discussion over sanctions against Russia before legislators left DC last week: with a bipartisan desire to do more to challenge Putin, but no agreement on specifics.

Congress is ready to act fast if the Biden government requests further legislation. No such formal request has been received yet, according to a senior House Democrat source.


Some lawmakers, however, do not want to wait for Biden’s approval before introducing new measures to sanction Russia as retaliation for its deadly campaign, while also strengthening Ukraine’s army and providing much-needed humanitarian aid.

Senator Chris Coons, who served as chairman of the Intelligence Committee on the State Department and Foreign Processes, told journalists Friday morning that any additional budget resolution would probably exceed $10 billion.

The majority of the money would be going toward humanitarian assistance to deal with Europe’s impending refugee crisis.

This Won’t Stop Russia

Those who want to aid Ukraine more quickly — Democrats and Republicans alike — point to Biden’s admission on Thursday that penalties he proposed so far will do little to dissuade Putin’s behavior in the near term.

Senator Lindsey Graham stated, “If we are not doing all that is feasible, we are not doing enough. We don’t have time on our side.”

Graham said he promised the Biden government an emergency budget resolution for Ukraine would receive “wide broad support” and the Senate would vote on it next week when senators return to DC.

“What is acceptable won’t be difficult to agree on under the present situation,” said Idaho Senator Jim Risch, the top member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

There is significant bipartisan consensus on going beyond what the Biden government has done thus far. On Thursday, the United States expanded its sanctions to include more Russian banking institutions and critical businesses.

However, Senate International Policy Chair Bob Menendez called for a further escalation that would force Russia out of the SWIFT international banking system.

This comes despite Biden’s assertion that such a proposition would face opponents from some European countries, while also aiming to penalize Putin personally.

In fact, Democrats and Republicans who visited the Munich Security Conference pledged to help enact “whatever urgent supplementary measures will best support our NATO partners and the citizens of Ukraine” ahead of Russia’s assault.