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Inside Treasury’s latest Ukraine supplemental pitch to Congress

Top Treasury Department officials are stepping up their appeals to Congress for additional Ukraine aid as that nation’s war with Russia enters its 21st month.

As congressional Republicans grow increasingly cool to further Ukraine funding, top Treasury officials including Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo have been briefing lawmakers this week on both the war’s merits and — crucially, for Republicans — relative cost.

The key pitch: The United States isn’t funding Ukraine on its own but rather as part of a strong international coalition.

U.S. economic aid to Ukraine has been crucial to the war effort, to be clear — a total of roughly $23 billion in direct budget support through July 10, which is about a third of Ukraine’s external backing from the international community. And that doesn’t include $43 billion in defense funding from the United States.

But the Biden administration is arguing that European countries have been providing as much support to Ukraine, if not more, relative to their respective governments’ smaller budgets. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been making this argument, too.

We still expect this to be a tough sell for a number of Republicans, particularly in the House. GOP lawmakers’ skepticism about additional Ukraine aid has only gained momentum since the recent election of Speaker Mike Johnson.

News: After Adeyemo briefed members of the House Financial Service Committee Wednesday in a classified setting, Treasury disseminated a “sensitive but unclassified” slideshow deck to lawmakers that outlines in some detail where the funds have gone and how they compare to contributions from European Union nations and beyond.

We obtained that document, and you can read it here.

The deck covers the war’s start in February 2022 and runs through early July 2023. It’s worth noting at the onset that Treasury says the figures are “subject to uncertainty given limited availability of information.”

According to the document, America’s allies have nearly matched U.S. security expenses for Ukraine at $37 billion. The deck also notes that “some” defense spending from U.S. allies isn’t public, “so estimates may significantly undercount allied contributions” to Ukraine.

The EU has provided more direct budget support to Ukraine than Congress for a total of $22.4 billion, with another $10 billion pledged in the months and years ahead.

The United States also trails its allies in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, according to the document. America’s $1.7 billion support figure is less than half of the more than $4 billion provided by the European Union, Japan, United Kingdom and others.

These presentations to lawmakers are just one part of the Biden administration’s effort to secure additional Ukrainian funds. Senior officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote to congressional leadership on Tuesday arguing the White House’s supplemental request “aims to preserve U.S. national security interests at a time of dire global crises.” It also assumes that “three quarters of economic support to Ukraine will come from sources other than the United States” in 2024.

“Our allies and partners are stepping up,” the Cabinet officials noted. “However, financing from others cannot make up for the large gap that would quickly emerge if the United States were to abandon its commitment to Ukraine.”

— Brendan Pedersen

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