US to provide more aid to Ukraine as spending package approved by lawmakers

Us To Provide More Aid To Ukraine As Spending Package Approved By Lawmakers Us To Provide More Aid To Ukraine As Spending Package Approved By Lawmakers
Congress Pelosi, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Kevin Freking, Associated Press

A $1.7 trillion spending Bill financing federal agencies through to September and providing more aid to Ukraine has cleared the House as US lawmakers race to finish their work for the year and avoid a partial government shutdown.

The Bill passed mostly along party lines, 225-201. It now goes to president Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Passage of the Bill represented a closing act for Nancy Pelosi’s second stint as House speaker, and for the Democratic majority she led back to power in the 2018 election.

Republicans will take control of the House next year and Kevin McCarthy is campaigning to replace her.

He is appealing for support from staunch conservatives in his caucus who have largely criticised the size of the Bill and many of the priorities it contains.


Kevin McCarthy is hoping to become the next Speaker of the House (Scott Applewhite/AP)

He spoke with a raised voice for about 25 minutes, attacking the Bill for spending too much and doing too little to curb illegal immigration and the flow of fentanyl across the US-Mexico border.

“This is a monstrosity that is one of the most shameful acts I’ve ever seen in this body,” Mr McCarthy said of the legislation.

The speech prompted a quick quip from Democrat Jim McGovern, who said “after listening to that, it’s clear he doesn’t have the votes yet” – a reference to Mr McCarthy’s campaign to become speaker.

Ms Pelosi said “we have a big Bill here because we had big needs for the country” and then turned her focus to Mr McCarthy.

“It was sad to hear the minority leader say that this legislation is the most shameful thing to be seen on the House floor in this Congress,” Ms Pelosi said. “I can’t help but wonder, had he forgotten January 6th?”

The Senate passed the defence-heavy measure with significant bipartisan support on Thursday, but the vote was much more split in the House. Some 30 Republican lawmakers promised to block any legislative priority that comes from those Republican senators who voted for the Bill and leadership urged a no vote.


The Bill runs for 4,155 pages, not including amendments the Senate added. It contains about a 6 per cent percent increase in spending for domestic initiatives, to $772.5 billion. Spending on defence programmes will increase by about 10 per cent to $858 billion.

President Joe Biden is set to sign the Bill into law (Patrick Semansky/AP)

The Bill’s passage came only hours before financing for federal agencies expires. Lawmakers have passed two stopgap spending measures to keep the government operating so far for this budget year and a third was set to pass on Friday as well to ensure services continue until Mr Biden could sign the full-year measure, called an omnibus, into law.

The massive Bill wraps together 12 appropriations Bills, aid to Ukraine and disaster relief for communities recovering from hurricanes, flooding and wildfires. It also contains scores of policy changes that lawmakers worked to include in the final major Bill being considered by the current Congress.

Lawmakers provided roughly 45 billion dollars for Ukraine and Nato allies, more than even Mr Biden requested, an acknowledgment that future rounds of funding are not guaranteed with a new Republican-led House.

In a dramatic address to a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told lawmakers that the aid was not charity, but an investment in global security and democracy.

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