Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen told top European economic leaders on Monday that the United States would not back down on support for Ukraine and vowed that the Biden administration would work to approve more aid despite resistance from some Republicans in Congress.
The comments at a meeting of finance ministers in Luxembourg came amid concerns in Europe that political dysfunction in the United States and renewed conflict in the Middle East would deprive Ukraine of the funds it needs to sustain efforts to repel a Russian invasion.
The Biden administration is asking Congress to take up an emergency aid package that would pair support for Ukraine and Israel, but its fate remains highly uncertain. Legislative activity in the House has stalled since Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted as speaker two weeks ago.
Ms. Yellen assured European officials that bipartisan majorities in Congress and across the United States support funding for Ukraine.
“The Biden administration is committed to supporting Ukraine for as long as necessary,” she said. “We will work with Congress to pass a strong Ukraine package into law.”
Congress has approved about $113 billion in funding for Ukraine against a full-scale invasion by Russia in February 2022. But last month, lawmakers allowed emergency funds to Ukraine to lapse as Republican support for such aid waned.
At a press conference on Monday, Ms. Yellen said the White House would soon submit a request for funding to Ukraine and Israel to Congress. She described funding for Ukraine as President Biden’s “top priority,” adding, “I absolutely believe we’re going to get it done.”
The administration previously sought a $24 billion aid package to support Ukraine over the next few months, but may seek a larger package to avoid another showdown over funding before the 2024 election.
The European Union recently approved a three-year financial package for Ukraine worth 50 billion euros, or about $53 billion, from 2024 to 2027. Officials are watching with concern as support for funding Ukraine appears to be waning in the United States.
Josep Borrell Fontelles, the EU’s top diplomat, told reporters ahead of a summit in Spain this month that events in the United States were “not expected” and “not good news”.
“Ukraine needs the support of the European Union,” he said, “but also the support of the USA.”
At a press conference with Ms. Yellen, Paschal Donohoe, the president of the Eurogroup, said he hoped the United States would keep in mind that Europe was making a significant contribution to Ukraine’s aid.
“We can confidently say to our friends and partners in America that we are playing our part and therefore we ask for their support,” said Mr. Donohoe, “to uphold and protect the values and ideals that are dear to both. us.”