Congress squeezes $12 billion in MORE Ukraine aide into government funding bill: Brings total given to Zelensky to $66 billion – as negotiations to avoid a shutdown continue with five days to go
- Lawmakers have reached a deal to include $12 billion for Ukraine as it fends off a Russian invasion in a stopgap spending bill
- Follows a $40 billion aid package in May and a $14 billion one in March
- They have also agreed to include funding to resettle Afghan refugees, another request from the Biden administration
- Congress faces a midnight deadline on Friday to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at its current levels
- About half of the $54 billion has been targeted toward security aid through the DoD, the other half has gone through the State Dept. and other agencies
Lawmakers have reached a deal to include $12 billion for Ukraine as it fends off a Russian invasion in a stopgap spending bill, bringing the total in US assistance approved by US Congress to around $66 billion.
They have also agreed to include funding to resettle Afghan refugees, another request from the Biden administration, a source told Reuters.
Earlier this month President Biden asked Congress for the additional $11.7 million in foreign aid to fight off Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Congress faces a midnight deadline on Friday to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at its current levels before negotiating a longer-term funding bill after the midterm elections.
Congress initially offered $13.6 billion to Ukraine in March at the onset of the invasion and topped it off with a $40 billion aid package in May.
About half of the $54 billion has been targeted toward security aid through the Department of Defense, the other half has gone through the Department of State and other aid agencies.
Ukraine, already the largest recipient of U.S. security assistance in Europe since 2014, could become the largest recipient in the last century if the pace continues, surpassing other nations throughout history where the U.S. has had a heavy hand.
Another $12 billion for Ukraine is expected to be tacked on to a continuing resolution Above is pictured a building destroyed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv
SEPTEMBER 24, 2022 – A burnt-out supermarket is pictured in Tsyrkuny village, Kharkiv Region, northeastern Ukraine
A Ukrainian soldier enters a destroyed building at an industrial chicken farm, near which the Russian forces were dug in, near a suspected mass grave in Kozacha Lopan, Kharkiv region, on September 26
Since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, the US has given about $2.7 billion in Military aid to Ukraine per year from 2014-2021, but the breakneck speed and scale of aid this year is nearly unprecedented.
The U.S. spent some $73 billion in military aid on Afghanistan before it fell to the Taliban, in addition to billions more rebuilding the war-ravaged nation and some $873 billion going to war there. But Israel remains the largest overall recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II, raking in $146 billion in military assistance and missile defense funding.
Though the new funding for Ukraine is likely to pass, the appetite for doling out cash for a war with no end in sight is waning. Hawkish Republicans are more common in the Senate, where their votes are needed to meet a 60-vote threshold, whereas the House has more isolationists in its GOP caucus.
Some have demanded a more detailed outline as to where the funding is going.
‘We need to demand accountability for how that money’s being spent so we know on a granular basis that it’s not just being squandered in Ukraine,’ Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry, R-Pa., told Politico.
‘Where is guns and butter anymore? We just keep writing checks,’ Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said. ‘There’s no limiting principle. So no, count me against throwing more money at Ukraine without having a serious conversation about guns and butter, a serious conversation about why we’re spending it and how it’s in our national security interest.’
He blasted Republicans who ‘use defense as an excuse to spend all manners of money.’
In addition to the Ukraine aid, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer faces an uphill battle to attach a pipeline permitting bill drawn up by Sen. Joe Manchin to the CR,in a payback deal for Manchin’s ‘yes’ vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.
Also expected in the stopgap funding bill is funding to aid with the Jackson, Miss. water crisis and money to help lower-income families afford heat this winter, as well as funding to help resettle refugees from Afghanistan, per the White House’s request. A deal has also been reached to reauthorize the FDA’s user fee program.
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