Biden argues failure to move Ukraine aid would be ‘close to criminal neglect’

President Biden argued that Congress’ inability to pass funding for Ukraine for its war against Russia is “close to criminal neglect,” in a conversation with the German chancellor Friday

“The failure of the United States Congress, if it occurs, not to support Ukraine is close to criminal neglect. It is outrageous,” Biden told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ahead of a bilateral meeting.

The conversation comes as tensions rise in Europe over Congress’ failure to pass new aid for Ukraine. Scholz arrived in the U.S. to argue that a win for Russia in the war would be harmful to the West and its allies, and to express how Germany has continued to fund Ukraine despite having budget constraints.

The Senate voted Friday evening to push a $95.3 billion package for Ukraine, Israel and other national security priorities closer to passing, but it hasn’t come without friction.

All but four GOP senators voted to block the bipartisan deal that included border security measures earlier this week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stripped the border provisions from the bill after the vote.

Schumer asked his Republican colleagues to work with him so they can “move this bill more quickly.” The deal includes $60 billion in aid for Ukraine.

In his conversation with the German chancellor, Biden added the House is also “being somewhat reluctant” but said he hopes that “it’s more politics than real.”

Scholz emphasized Germany’s contributions to the war and said he believes the House will follow Biden’s lead and provide the “necessary support” for Ukraine. Without it, he said, Ukraine does not have a chance to defend itself.

Biden agreed and said “So much is at stake, so they better step up.”

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