What to Know in Washington: OMB Warns Congress on Ukraine Funds

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Shalanda Young, President Joe Biden’s budget director, is warning Congress that the US will run out of resources to assist Ukraine by the end of the calendar year, as the White House looks to ratchet up pressure on lawmakers to pass an emergency funding package.

“There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment,” Young, who leads the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to congressional leaders. “We are out of money — and nearly out of time.” She warned that a failure to act would “kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”

Photographer: SERGEY BOBOK/AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian Military Forces servicemembers use tanks, self-propelled guns, and other armored vehicles to conduct live-fire exercises.

Ukraine assistance has become a flashpoint on Capitol Hill, with new Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) insisting that additional aid is contingent on immigration policy changes. The White House is seeking over $61 billion for Ukraine aid as part of a roughly $105 billion package that would also include funding for Israel’s war against Hamas, allies in the Pacific, and money to house and process undocumented immigrants along the border with Mexico.

Republicans are hoping the Ukraine funding fight can provide leverage as they seek to tighten access to asylum. But negotiations on a sweeping immigration agreement are yet to yield results, with the Senate expected to depart for the Christmas holiday on Dec. 15.

“It’s going to take the administration coming to the table and recognizing that their policy needs to change,” House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner (R-Ohio) said yesterday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who is also involved in the negotiations, said yesterday he still believes it is possible to get a deal on immigration and foreign aid “done by the end of the year.”

But the push is further complicated by other pressing business on Capitol Hill, and the White House is eager to settle the funding issue before January, when it could bleed into the latest round of fighting over government funding. Justin Sink has the latest.


  • Biden has no public events scheduled today.


  • The House is back at 2 p.m. with votes this week aimed at higher ed oversight and blocking regulations.
  • The Senate returns at 3 p.m. to vote on a federal appeals judge.
  • For the detailed agenda, read BGOV’s Congress Tracker.

Also Happening on the Hill

SEN. DEB FISCHER (R-NEB.) is targeting Biden’s nursing home policy, saying she plans to unveil legislation to stop the implementation of a proposed minimum mandatory staffing rule. Read more.

HOSPITALS are struggling with chronic lapses in patient medications as partisan gridlock in Washington stalls congressional efforts to mitigate the shortages. Read more.

The War in Israel and Gaza

Lloyd Austin delivering remarks in California on Friday. Photo by Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

ISRAEL is expanding military operations into southern Gaza, putting at risk hundreds of thousands of Palestinians escaping the north as US officials grow increasingly uneasy about the war’s toll on civilians. Vice President Kamala Harris weighed in to say that “as Israel pursues its military objectives in Gaza, we believe Israel must do more to protect innocent civilians.”

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Israel risked “strategic defeat” in its war with Hamas if it fails to heed global warnings about the mounting civilian death toll. Read more.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) blasted Austin for his “naive” comment, and said he’s lost confidence in the defense secretary. Read more.

ARAB NATIONS, including the UAE and Egypt, are pushing for new humanitarian corridors to help increase the flow of aid to the Gaza Strip, people familiar with the matter said. Read more.

TURKEY’S Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his refusal to designate Hamas as a terrorist group, dismissing US concerns about Ankara’s alleged support for Hamas’ finances. Read more.

US Keeps Focus on Beijing

Charles Q. Brown (right) in Virginia on Nov. 22. Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

CHARLES Q. BROWN said he’s still waiting to hear back from China about resuming military-to-military ties as the two countries seek to stabilize their fraught relationship. “I’m standing by,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this weekend at the Reagan National Defense Forum. Read more.

  • Also speaking this weekend, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said that more funding is needed to stop China from catching up on semiconductors, calling it “the biggest threat we’ve ever had.” Read more.

ASIAN NATIONS eager for US-Chinese cooperation were pleased with Biden and Xi Jinping’s face-to-face last month, but still want deeper trade relations with the US. Read more.

People, Power, and Politics

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
President Joe Biden and Queen Latifah at White House Kennedy Center Honorees reception

HOLLYWOOD celebrities including Steven Spielberg, Shonda Rhimes, and Rob Reiner are among the hosts for a star-studded fundraiser for Biden when he visits L.A. on Friday. The event will also include First Lady Jill Biden and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg. Read more.

  • Biden spotlighted the arts as shaping “the very soul of the nation” as he toasted the latest Kennedy Center honorees yesterday at the White House. Read more.

DONALD TRUMP rallied his campaign volunteers for Iowa’s Republican Party caucuses on Jan. 15, while Ron DeSantis made good on a vow to visit all of the state’s 99 counties.

  • Trump is stepping up his efforts in Iowa ahead of the first GOP nominating contest of 2024 as DeSantis plows resources into the state to stymie the frontrunner’s momentum. Read more.
  • But DeSantis’ campaign faced another hiccup with the departure of the interim CEO of the top super PAC that backs the Florida governor’s bid. Read more.

TRUMP is not entitled to absolute presidential immunity against criminal charges over his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a federal judge ruled. Read more.

  • Meanwhile, John Eastman maintains he made good faith arguments that Vice President Mike Pence could delay counting electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election. Read more.

OKLAHOMA REPUBLICANS are split on Biden’s recent nomination of Sara Hill, a prominent American Indian lawyer to a trial court in the state. Read more.

MASSACHUSETTS’ SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT is poised to become even more progressive on issues including reproductive rights, immigration, and criminal justice after Gov. Maura Healey (D) fills two impending vacancies just a year into her term. Read more.

What Else We’re Watching

Vice President Kamala Harris at the COP28 summit in Dubai on Saturday. Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

HARRIS touted a pledge by the US to contribute $3 billion toward a United Nations fund meant to help developing countries slash greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change at the COP28 summit this weekend. The pledge of support for the Green Climate Fund would come on top of $9.3 billion in pledges already announced by the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and others. Read more.

  • Meanwhile, the US is also hunting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, with new mandates forcing firms to replace leaky equipment. Read more.

ALASKA AIR agreed to buy rival Hawaiian Airlines in a $1.9 billion cash and debt deal, challenging the Biden administration’s aggressive stance on mergers. Read more.

SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR stands out for being the last justice on the US Supreme Court bench to have wielded any previous elected experience. Read more.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brandon Lee at blee@bgov.com

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