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Biden urges Congress to pass Ukraine funding now: "This cannot wait"

Biden presses Congress to pass Ukraine aid
Biden presses Congress to pass Ukraine aid to prevent Russian win 11:10

President Biden on Wednesday reiterated his plea to Congress to pass a national security funding request that includes money for Ukraine, as the White House warns Ukraine funding will dry up by the end of the month. 

The president directed his message to Republicans in particular, as the Democratic-controlled Senate prepares to vote on Mr. Biden's request for $106 billion in funding for national security-related matters. Many Republicans insist funding for border security must be included in any such package. 

"Make no mistake — today's vote is going to be long remembered," he said. "And history is going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom's cause. We can't let Putin win." 

The president warned Republicans they'd be siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin if they don't pass more aid for Ukraine soon. 

"This cannot wait," the president said. "Congress needs to pass supplemental funding for Ukraine before they break for the holiday recess, simple as that. Frankly, I think it's stunning that we've gotten to this point in the first place. Congress—Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for and abandon our global leadership, not just Ukraine, but beyond that."

Mr. Biden said Russians have captured "thousands" of Ukrainian children, keeping them in Russia and decimating Ukrainian families. 

"Russian forces are committing war crimes," the president continued. "It's as simple as that. It's stunning. Who is prepared to walk away from holding Putin accountable for this behavior? Who among us is really prepared to do that?"

Mr. Biden's remarks come on the heels of Attorney General Merrick Garland's announcement that the U.S. has charged four Russian soldiers with war crimes for allegedly abducting and torturing an American citizen in Ukraine. 

The Office of Management and Budget sent a letter to Congress on Monday urging the House and Senate to approve more funding for Ukraine — both to support the country in its battle against Russian aggression and to replenish U.S. military stockpiles. 

"I want to be clear: without congressional action, by the end of the year we will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks," OMB Director Shalanda Young wrote to Congress. "There is no magical point of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money — and nearly out of time."

Mr. Biden's address came shortly after former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he would be leaving Congress at the end of the month, before his term ends. 

The current speaker, Rep. Mike Johnson, says Ukraine aid won't pass without funding for border security. The president addressed the "broken immigration system" Wednesday. 

"In terms of changes of policy and providing resources that we need at the border, I'm willing to change policy as well," Mr. Biden said. "I've asked for billions of dollars for more border agents, more immigration judges, more asylum officers. Republicans have to decide if they want a political issue or if they want a solution at the border." 

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