Newsletter: Should Congress Stop Funding the War in Ukraine?

Debate: Should Congress Stop Funding the War in Ukraine?

This week:

  • New episode: Should Congress authorize more money to help Ukraine fight Russia?
  • A closer look at how aid to Ukraine compares to other U.S. spending
  • Your Sunday reading list



In step with breaking news and in partnership with the Council on Foreign Relations, we offer timely insights about whether Congress should stop funding the war in Ukraine.

The Stakes: Congress has returned to Capitol Hill following the Easter break to consider a bill to aid Ukraine, Israel, and other partners that passed in the Senate, but has stalled in the House — $60 billion is allotted to assist Ukraine. Earlier this week, The New York Times Editorial Board opined that Ukraine is already suffering from faltering U.S. support and would not be able to defend itself for long. Meanwhile, former President Trump discussed a deal he says would end the war, that would push Ukraine to cede Crimea and the Donbas region to Russia.

Ukraine By the Numbers:

  • The U.S. has given approximately $75 billion (or €68.7 billion) in aid, which accounts for $1.6 billion in humanitarian aid, $26.4 billion in financial support, and $46.3 billion in military assistance.
  • 10,582 civilians have died in Ukraine since the invasion began, although the United Nations notes the actual number of casualties may be higher.
  • 31,000 Ukrainian and over 315,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in battle, but the exact number of military deaths is disputed.
  • 178 billion dollars of total aid has been supplied to Ukraine from all allies.
  • The Senate has passed a $95.3 billion bill for aid to Ukraine, Israel, and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as other humanitarian assistance.


Arguing that Congress should stop funding the war in Ukraine are political science professor John Mearsheimer and Lt. Col. (Ret.) Daniel L. Davis, who both say the war is unwinnable for Ukraine and that Congress’ continued support is amoral, as Ukrainians will lose more lives and territory if the war is prolonged. Making the case that continued Congressional funding is vital to Ukrainian and American interests and essential to preserving global democracy are former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky and German Marshall Fund president Heather Conley (three of the four debaters are members of the Council on Foreign Relations).

As Congress weighs whether to stop funding the war in Ukraine, is it possible that our debaters could change minds ahead of a vote? Listen to this debate now on your favorite podcast platform, on WNYC, and on YouTube. As always, let us know what you think.




John Mearsheimer

Political Science Professor

at the University of Chicago



Daniel L. Davis

Retired Lieutenant Colonel; Senior Fellow and Military Expert at Defense Priorities



Heather Conley

President of the German Marshall Fund

of the United States



Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky

Vice Chair, Atlantic Council Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security; Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs



John Donvan

Host and Moderator-in-Chief




How Does Ukraine Spending Compare to Other Budget Priorities?



Should Congress Stop Funding the War in Ukraine?


YES: John Mearsheimer

“The Ukrainians are doomed. The principal reason is because of the military balance of power. The Russians now have a decisive advantage over the Ukrainians, and that advantage is going to increase, not decrease. There’s nothing the West can do to rectify that balance… What we should do is get the Ukrainians to engage in diplomacy with the Russians and try to settle this conflict.”


YES: Daniel L. Davis

“There is no path to military victory for Ukraine. It doesn’t matter whether the cause is right. It’s not just the 60 billion dollars that Congress is trying to get; it’s the lives of the Ukrainians. If you play this game further and you give more money, it will extend the war [but] it will not change the outcome. More Ukrainians will die. More Ukrainian lands will be going to the Russian side. They’re going to win. The question now is do we fold and preserve what Ukraine has now and end the dying? Or do we keep playing in the hopes that we win and instead more Ukrainians die?”


NO: Ambassador Paula J. Dobriansky

“Our aid to Ukraine must continue because it’s vital. It’s also determinative: cutting aid to Ukraine will benefit Putin. If Russia gets a pass on its brutal aggression against Ukraine, the fact is that you’re going to have an emboldened Russia that will be exponentially tougher. Abandonment of Ukraine will also inexorably encourage China and other authoritarians in the Middle East and in the Indo-Pacific to launch aggressions of their own. Continuing to support Ukraine now is one of the most effective courses of action for… maintaining U.S. credibility with our allies, our partners, and the global community, and maintaining our leadership.”


NO: Heather Conley

“Congress should not stop funding Ukraine. Ukraine is not doomed. Ukraine has held the second-largest military in the world at bay. They pushed them back substantially in September of 2022. This is existential. This is Russia’s responsibility. Russia has absolutely destroyed every legal treaty they’ve ever signed. They should be held accountable, and Congress must support freedom and prosperity.”





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