US Senate Passes Bill To Avoid Government Shutdown, Authorize $12.4Bln In New Ukraine Aid

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 30th September, 2022) The US Senate on Thursday passed legislation to fund the US government and avoid a shutdown, as well as authorize $12.4 billion in new funding for Ukraine-related areas.

Senate lawmakers passed the legislation in a vote of 72-25, with 60 votes needed to advance the bill. Three senators did not vote.

The legislation, which now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration, would maintain fiscal year 2022 funding levels through December 16, avoiding a government shutdown set to start on midnight Friday.

"I'm glad we came to a timely conclusion and didn't go right up to the brink and risk a shutdown," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Thursday during floor remarks.

The Congress will now seek to pass a full-year spending bill in December, Schumer also said.

Opposition to the bill by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell over the inclusion of energy production permitting reforms was lifted after the measures were removed by request of their sponsor, Senator Joe Manchin.

The legislation would also authorize approximately $12.4 billion in new Ukraine-related funding, including $4.5 billion in economic assistance for Kiev, $3 billion in security aid, $2.8 billion for US European Command and $1.5 billion to replenish US weapons stocks.

The bill would also authorize $3.7 billion in US military equipment, including from stocks replenished by the legislation, to be sent to Ukraine using Presidential Drawdown Authority.

Additionally, the bill allocated $540 million to increase critical munitions production, $35 million for nuclear incident preparedness and $2 million for an Inspector General report on Ukraine assistance monitoring.

"Of particular importance is the money to Ukraine," Schumer also said on Thursday. "American weaponry and help has helped them turn the tide of the war. We cannot stop now, and we're not going to."

The bill also funds domestic initiatives such as low-income heating assistance, disaster relief and investigative activities associated with Afghan resettlement operations.