Defense

Final funding bill includes $45B for Ukraine

Surrounded by soldiers the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attends a national flag-raising ceremony in the freed Izium, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

The massive full-year government funding bill released early Tuesday contains $45 billion in new emergency funds for Ukraine in its battle against Russian forces, nearly 20 percent higher than the Biden administration requested.  

The final amount, included in the year-end, must-pass omnibus bill, means Ukraine will get $8 billion more than the $37 billion President Biden asked Congress for last month. 

Broken down, the funds include about $11.9 billion to replenish U.S. weapons stocks that have been dipped into often since Feb. 24, when Russia first attacked Ukraine and Washington poured in its own lethal equipment to bolster the besieged country.  

A summary of the supplemental aid also noted that $9 billion will go to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which includes efforts to train, equip and provide intelligence support to Ukraine’s military. Another $6.98 billion will go toward U.S. European Command mission and intelligence support, pay, equipment and related activities. 

In addition, $300 million is meant “for advanced nuclear reactors and advanced nuclear fuels” to increase Ukrainian energy security and independence as Russia continues to hit its energy infrastructure with frequent missile barrages and drone strikes. 

And $126.3 million would help to “prepare for and respond to potential nuclear and radiological incidents in Ukraine,” notable given the frequent saber rattling from Russian President Vladimir Putin over his country’s nuclear stocks. 

Another $2.47 billion would address humanitarian needs in the country, $13.37 billion would go to economic support for Kyiv and $2.4 billion would help resettle Ukrainian arrivals and refugees into the United States.  

The extra funding comes after the administration pressed lawmakers to pass more supplemental funding for Kyiv in the omnibus, specifically finding crossroads with House Republicans who have voiced support for the extra dollars and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has continuously championed assistance to Ukraine.  

“We want to make sure that there’s a relationship, that they’re able to defend themselves and take on what is purely the ugliest aggression that’s occurred since World War II on a massive scale, on the part of Putin, within Ukraine,” Biden said in November. “And there’s so much at stake.” 

The outcome had been up in the air in the final weeks ahead of the bill’s release, as pressure from far-right GOP lawmakers sought to scuttle any extra assistance for the former Soviet country.  

Among the most vocal was Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who earlier this month called for the U.S. to prioritize sending arms to defend itself against China over helping Ukraine beat back Russia. He has also voted against overwhelmingly bipartisan bills to send additional aid packages to Ukraine. 

And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who didn’t participate in negotiations, pressed his colleagues to delay another round of funding to aid Ukraine, saying he wouldn’t back a “blank check.” 

But the final, 4,155-page package ultimately covered the supplemental aid for Ukraine in addition to the 12 annual spending bills for every federal agency. 

The bill still must be passed by the House and Senate and signed by Biden, but should it happen by year’s end, total U.S. military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine will tick past more than $110 billion in 2022. 

This would also be the fourth package for Ukraine, with a $13.6 billion tranche given in March, a $40 billion package passed in May and another $12.3 billion attached to a continuing resolution passed in September. 

Tags Biden Josh Hawley Kevin McCarthy Mitch McConnell omnibus Ukraine Ukraine aid Vladimir Putin
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