US May Halt Military Aid To Ukraine If Congress Fails To Agree On Budget Bill - Reports

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th December, 2022) The United States may be forced to halt providing assistance to Ukraine if Congress fails to pass full-year legislation to fund defense programs and other government operations, Politico reported on Sunday.

In late November, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin urged Congress to pass a full-year appropriations bill, known as an omnibus, instead of another stopgap resolution. A long-term appropriations bill is needed for critical investments in military infrastructure and to compete with China, Austin said.

According to Politico, Defense Department officials have drawn a list of dire consequences that Washington may face if Congress fails to pass full-year omnibus spending legislation. A year-long continuing resolution would cut defense funding by $29 billion, or 3.7%, compared to US President Joe Biden's budget proposal, Politico said, citing senior defense department officials and internal documents.

Although the Pentagon is no stranger to operating under short-term spending bills, a year-long continuing resolution would spell much trouble for its programs. Senior defense officers are reportedly concerned that a long-term continuous resolution may halt military aid to Ukraine, which is sourced from the base budget of the defense department.

Although "the bulk of the funding" comes from supplemental funding bills, which can be added to a stopgap resolution, if lawmakers fail to agree on a funding bill or a legislation on supplies to Ukraine, the Pentagon will "run out of money" for Kiev in the spring, defense department comptroller Michael McCord told Politico.

The US may also face problems with improving its industrial base for the Abrams tank and the M777 towed howitzer, both of which are supplied to Ukraine if there is no omnibus bill, Politico said.

In September, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government at previously appropriated levels ahead of a possible shutdown in October. The continuing resolution funds the government through December 16, at which point the government would again risk a shutdown unless Congress passes a new omnibus funding bill or another continuing resolution.