Congress Passes Government Funding Bill, Preventing Shutdown and Clearing Nearly $14 Billion in Ukraine Aid

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters
  • The Senate passed a bill to fund the government through September, preventing a shutdown.
  • The legislation also includes $13.6 billion for both humanitarian and military assistance for Ukraine as it fights off a Russian invasion.
  • Lawmakers scrapped $15.6 billion in supplemental coronavirus relief from the plan.

The Senate passed a $1.5 trillion funding bill Thursday night to keep the government running through September and bolster both humanitarian and military efforts in Ukraine.

The legislation, which the Senate approved in a 68-31 vote, will head to President Joe Biden for his signature. The House passed it on Wednesday.

Congress had to approve a spending bill by Friday to prevent a lapse in funding. While Biden waited to sign the 2,700-page legislation, he signed a separate plan passed by Congress to avert a shutdown through Tuesday.

Lapses in funding can lead to furloughs of federal workers, hinder the economy and force the government to scale back services.

Lawmakers passed a full-year spending bill after keeping the lights on for months through temporary continuing resolutions, which fund the government at existing levels.

The bill passed Thursday includes $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine as the country enters its third week of fighting off a Russian invasion. The money will go toward helping the Ukrainians displaced by the Russian assault, including the more than 2 million people who have fled the country.

It will also fund the deployment of military equipment and troops to Europe.

"We're giving the Ukrainians billions for food, medicine, shelter, and support for the over two million refugees who have had to leave Ukraine, as well as funding for weapons transfers like Javelins and Stingers," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote.

The House had to scrap $15.6 billion in supplemental coronavirus relief funds from the plan after a dispute over how to meet Republican demands to offset the spending. While the House aims to pass the pandemic aid bill next week, it may not have enough GOP support to get through the Senate.

Schumer said Congress "absolutely must" try to approve more coronavirus aid in the coming weeks.

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