Biden Suggests He Has a Path around Congress to Get More Aid to Ukraine and Plans Major Speech

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File
President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Facing a likely roadblock from House Republicans on aid for Ukraine, President Joe Biden said Wednesday he’s planning to give a major speech on the issue and suggested there may be “another means” to provide support for Kyiv if Congress continues to balk.

“I’m going to be announcing very shortly a major speech I’m going to make on this issue and why it’s critically important for the United States and our allies that we keep our commitment” to Ukraine, Biden told reporters after giving unrelated remarks at the White House.

White House officials declined to say when Biden planned to give his speech. The president did not elaborate on the alternate method he was looking at to get additional military aid to Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia.

“There is another means by which we may be able to find funding, but I’m not going to get into that right now,” he said.

Aid for Ukraine has been a source of tension and uncertainty as several Republicans in the House have severe doubts or openly oppose additional funding to sustain the Ukrainian military.

The president said the resistance does “worry” him, but he noted that there is broad bipartisan support. Still, last week’s deal to keep the government open through mid-November excluded the $13 billion in supplemental aid that the Biden administration sought last month, raising questions about just how long the U.S. could continue to send money to Ukraine.

The agreement to temporarily keep the U.S. government open came at a steep political price for former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. At the instigation of Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, and other conservatives, McCarthy on Tuesday became the first speaker to be ousted from his post.

After Biden spoke, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during the Wednesday news briefing that Biden was “confident” Ukraine aid would approved because there is broad bipartisan support. But she noted the objections by some House Republicans were an obstacle to the United States’ work with allies to support Ukraine, which Russia invaded in February 2022.

“When you have a small fraction of a party that is causing that type of chaos, you know, it doesn’t look great across the globe,” Jean-Pierre said. “That doesn’t look very promising.”

Biden held a call Tuesday with allies in Europe, Japan and Canada to say the U.S. government still supported Ukraine