Biden says Congress must approve Ukraine aid this month: 'We can't let Putin win'

President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass funding for Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Dec. 6, 2023.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

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Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden urged Congress to pass funding for Ukraine in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Dec. 6, 2023.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Wednesday that Congress needed to approve funding for Ukraine before it leaves Washington for the holidays or it would strengthen the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“History’s going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom’s cause. We can’t let Putin win,” Biden said in remarks ahead of a procedural vote on the funding in the Senate on Wednesday – a vote that appears likely to fail.

The White House warned this week that it would run out of money for weapons and aid by the end of the month to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion.

Biden made promises to Israel and Ukraine. To keep his word, he needs Congress

“This cannot wait,” Biden said. “Frankly, I think it’s stunning that we got to this point in the first place.”

Biden asked Congress for close to $106 billion in October for Israel, Ukraine, countering China in the Indo-Pacific and bolstering operations on the southern U.S. border. But many House Republicans are leery of spending more money on Ukraine, and the proposal has floundered.

The Senate is set to hold a procedural vote on a $110 billion package on Wednesday, but talks over including immigration policy measures in that bill reached a stalemate, and the bill seems poised to fail.

Biden said Republicans were “playing chicken with our national security” and holding the measures hostage with political demands. He said he was willing to make “significant” compromises on border policy, and had made offers to Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., who had been leading talks.

“I felt good for a while,” Biden said, describing Lankford as “a decent guy” but saying that ultimately Republicans “walked away” from the talks.

Biden held talks with G7 leaders and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday. He said failing to continue to back Ukraine would embolden Putin and risk broader attacks on NATO allies.

“We’re the reason Putin has not totally overrun Ukraine,” he said.

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