Congress cuts deal on $13.6 billion for Ukraine aid in funding bill
Lawmakers are including $13.6 billion in Ukraine-related aid in a massive government funding bill that is expected to get a vote in the House on Wednesday.
The agreement, details of which were released early Wednesday morning, would provide new humanitarian assistance and military aid in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The brave, freedom-loving people of Ukraine and our allies in the region will receive urgently needed investments to fight Vladimir Putin and the Russians’ illegal and immoral invasion,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
The deal on Ukraine funding includes roughly $6.5 billion for the Department of Defense, including more than $3 billion to bolster U.S. European Command and $3.5 billion to backfill equipment that the United States has sent to Ukraine.
It also provides nearly $4 billion for the State Department and nearly $2.8 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development, including more money for humanitarian assistance programs.
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) touted the bill for allowing Congress to “urgently deliver the emergency aid that the brave people of Ukraine desperately need.” He also claimed a win on boosting the amount of defense-related aid included for Ukraine in the agreement.
“At my insistence, it also provides much more money for Ukraine than Democrats had proposed, particularly for authorities and funding to deliver crucial military equipment to Ukraine quickly,” McConnell said.
Details of the agreement on Ukraine aid came nearly 12 hours after McConnell, Schumer and congressional aides indicated that they had reached a deal for slightly less than $14 billion in emergency assistance tied to the war-torn nation.
The amount had steadily increased in recent days as the Biden administration and lawmakers raced to try to provide quick help to Ukraine. The administration initially suggested that it needed $6.5 billion before formally requesting $10 billion. Schumer then pegged the amount Congress would provide at $12 billion on Monday, before lawmakers settled on $13.6 billion.
The funding is expected to pass Congress as part of a massive government funding deal that members of the Appropriations Committee and top leadership announced early Wednesday morning.
The House is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday, sending it to the Senate. A Senate aide told The Hill that the upper chamber is still aiming to pass the bill by the Friday night deadline to prevent a government shutdown. But Congress is also expected to use a days-long continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a potential shutdown to both give the Senate more time and allow the bill to be formally printed before sending it to President Biden for his signature.
Leadership is hoping that including the Ukraine assistance will help shore up support for the government funding deal and help it move quickly.
“I think that’s going to add a sense of urgency … there’s no question about it,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.
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