Congress reaches deal on Ukraine aid, $1.5 trillion spending bill

Yahoo News – Axios

Congressional leaders said they reached a bipartisan deal early Wednesday to provide $13.6 billion to help Ukraine and $15.6 billion for COVID-19 relief, as part of a $1.5 trillion measure to fund the government.

Why it matters: The size of the Ukraine package — more than double the original request from the White House — reflects a sense of urgency among members of both parties after President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded with senators over Zoom to provide more humanitarian, military and economic assistance.

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  • And the release of the spending bill means the Biden administration will no longer have to operate under a number of temporary spending measures that capped federal agencies at older funding levels.

What we’re watching: Party leaders hoped to whip the 2,741-page measure through the House today and the Senate (perhaps) by week’s end.

  • The spending bill would fund the U.S. government through Sept. 30.
  • Congress faces a midnight Friday deadline to pass funding legislation.
  • As a backstop against a short shutdown, the House plans to pass a short-term bill Wednesday to continue government funding at current levels through March 15.

The details: The bill provides $730 billion for federal domestic spending for the rest of the fiscal year — the largest increase in non-defense spending in four years — and $782 billion in defense spending, according to a summary of the bill.

  • Separately, roughly half of the $13.6 billion Ukraine package goes to humanitarian and economic aid, and the other half goes to defense in Ukraine and U.S. allies and partners like Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Georgia.
  • The bill will also reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2019, after senators came to a bipartisan agreement last month.

Between the lines: President Biden originally asked Congress for $6.4 billion for Ukraine but upped that request to $10 billion as Russia continued to bomb Ukrainian cities.

  • The $15.6 billion package for COVID-19 relief both in the U.S. and globally is also smaller than the $22.5 billion sought by the Biden administration after Republicans opposed the idea of spending more on pandemic response.
  • The current bill returns $15.7 billion that was appropriated in previous pandemic relief bills to the Treasury Department.

What they’re saying: “This bipartisan agreement will help us address many of the major challenges we face at home and abroad: from COVID-19, to the vicious and immoral attack on Ukraine, to the need to lower costs for hardworking American families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

  • “We hope to pass this critical bipartisan legislation in both Chambers before the Continuing Resolution expires this Friday,” they added.

4 thoughts on “Congress reaches deal on Ukraine aid, $1.5 trillion spending bill

  1. And yet they have no money to help the homeless here at home or pay for a border wall and to enforce the border. Nor do they have money to help bring back jobs or even to help lower gas prices.

    Once again, I’m so confused.

  2. does the term “money laundering” mean anything to anyone, how much for the “big guy?” you damn well they’re all gonna get some kind of kick-back,since they are all dirty. I’m given the Ukraine is the home of the Biden criminal cartel’s money with Hunter in control, how else does a comedian come up with the millions and millions that Zelensky has?

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