Ten days ago, I sent to Congress an urgent proposal to provide the necessary military, economic and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The plan was far-reaching, because the need is great: we must support Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression.

The need is also urgent: I have almost exhausted the resources given to me by a bipartisan majority in Congress to support the Ukrainian fighters. This assistance has been essential to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield. We cannot allow our aid shipments to stop while we wait for further action from Congress. We are about ten days away from this critical deadline.

I am glad that in my conversations with Congressional leaders, there appears to be strong support for the proposal I have submitted, and Congress will likely adopt it in the form I have proposed. I urge them to do so, and again, I urge them to do so quickly.

Previously, I recommended that Congress take overdue action on much-needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines, and testing, as part of the Ukraine supplemental bill. However, I have been told by congressional leaders of both parties that such an addition would slow action on urgently needed Ukrainian aid – a view forcefully expressed by several congressional Republicans. We cannot afford to delay this vital war effort. Therefore, I am ready to accept that these two measures evolve separately, so that the draft law on Ukrainian aid can arrive on my desk immediately.

However, let me be clear: as vital as it is to help Ukraine fight Russian aggression, it is equally vital to help Americans fight COVID. Without timely COVID funding, more Americans will die unnecessarily. We will lose our place in the queue for America to order new COVID treatments and vaccines for the fall, including next-generation vaccines in development, and we will not be able to maintain our supply of COVID tests. . In the fall, if we are hit with new variants, it will be too late to get the tools needed for protection – critical treatments that will be available in Europe, but not in the United States. Also, our efforts to help low-income countries get COVID vaccines will stall.

I therefore call on Congress to immediately pass the Ukrainian Supplementary Funding Bill and deliver it to my office in the coming days. And then I urge Congress to act quickly on the COVID funding bill. This virus knows no borders; we must continue to save lives here at home and around the world.

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