House Speaker Mike Johnson has given President Biden an ultimatum, stating that additional funding for Ukraine will only be approved if substantial reforms are made to the U.S. immigration system. Johnson’s declaration, conveyed in a letter to the White House on Tuesday, signals a significant setback for the Democrats’ push for more funding for Ukraine, as well as highlighting the contentious nature of the immigration issue in Congress.
In the letter, Johnson makes it clear that additional aid to Ukraine is “dependent upon enactment of transformative change to our nation’s border security laws.” This response follows a Monday letter from the White House, where Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young warned that the U.S. would run out of Ukraine aid funding by the end of 2023.
Young emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating, “There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money—and nearly out of time.” She pointed out that cutting off the flow of U.S. weapons and equipment to Ukraine would jeopardize the gains made by the country and increase the likelihood of Russian military victories.
The U.S. has already contributed over $100 billion to Ukraine’s war effort since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. However, with domestic crises such as the Maui fires and the immigration situation, Republicans are increasingly questioning the allocation of funds abroad instead of addressing issues at home.
Johnson had previously announced plans to link Ukraine funding and immigration funding into the same bill, stating, “As long as the border is wide open, we’re opening ourselves up for great threats. And again, it’s just a matter of principle that if we’re going to take care of a border in Ukraine, we need to take care of America’s as well. And I think there’s bipartisan support for that idea.” This development comes as Ukrainian forces continue to face challenges in their counteroffensive against Russia, with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg warning of potential “bad news” in the conflict this week.