US Congress Considering Funding Bill To Stop Shutdown, Give $12.4Bln In New Aid To Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 28th September, 2022) The US Congress began consideration of a continuing appropriations bill designed to prevent a government shutdown in October, as well as provide over $16 billion in assistance related to the conflict in Ukraine, including $12.4 billion in new funding, according to an official breakdown of the legislation.

Lawmakers have until October 1 to pass legislation funding the government, lest it risk a shutdown. The continuing appropriations bill is intended to give Congress more time to pass an omnibus budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The legislation extends fiscal year 2022 funding levels with some exceptions, according to a section-by-section summary of the Senate's version of the bill, known as the Continuing Appropriations and Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2023.

Additionally, the bill provides for over $16 billion in assistance for areas related to the conflict in Ukraine, including approximately $12.4 billion in new funding, the summary said.

The bill provides $4.5 billion in economic assistance for Kiev, $3 billion in security aid, $2.8 billion towards operations in US European Command, $1.5 billion to replenish US weapons stocks, $540 million to increase critical munitions production, $35 million for nuclear incident preparedness in Ukraine, and $2 million for an Inspector General report on Ukraine assistance monitoring, the summary said.

The legislation also authorizes the US President to give $3.7 billion in Presidential Drawdown Authority equipment to Ukraine, the summary added.

The legislation also includes $1 billion in funding for low-income heating assistance, $20 million to address the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi and $15.3 million to the FBI for investigative activities associated with Afghan resettlement operations, according to the summary.

The bill requires 60 votes to get through the Senate - a feat that initially appeared unlikely given Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's call for Republicans to block its passage due to the presence of energy permitting reform measures included by Senator Joe Manchin.

During remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell called the measure a "poison pill" within the legislation and urged Republican colleagues to vote against the bill. Later on Tuesday, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Manchin agreed to move forward on a stopgap bill without the measure.

The Biden administration supports passage of the continuing resolution despite not including public health funding for monkeypox and COVID-19 response as the White House requested from Congress. The administration also looks forward to working with Congress to pass a full-year appropriations bill, the White House said on Tuesday.