The U.S. House of Representatives rushed to action $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine as it fights the invading Russian forces, along with $1.5 trillion to keep U.S. government programs running until Sept. 30 and prevent agency shutdowns this weekend. The House voted in a bipartisan fashion to pass the broad appropriations, which is expected to pass the Senate by midnight Friday when existing U.S. government funds expire. The $13.6 billion aid should support Ukraine’s military as it feigns victory over Russian forces, as well as provide humanitarian aid to citizens, including about 1.5 million refugees fleeing the country for safety elsewhere.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the $13.6 billion aid is likely to be the tip of a much larger effort. Pelosi told reporters at her weekly news conference that “all of us will have to do more” to help Ukraine in the coming weeks or months, and over the long term to help it rebuild, referring to the United States and NATO allies mainly. In response to its attack on Ukraine, the House also passed a bill to ban U.S. imports of Russian oil and other energy by a margin of 414-17. The House bill placed lawmakers on record as being firmly in favor of the U.S. trade ban one day after President Joe Biden used his executive powers to impose one. It also calls for reconsidering Russia’s participation in some international trade organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, and lawmakers abandoned an effort to add language revoking Russia’s permanent normal trade relations status, which would have allowed the United States to raise tariffs on Russian imports above those for all WTO members.
The U.S. government funding bill was passed after a revolt by Pelosi’s own Democrats, who objected to a $15.6 billion COVID-19 aid initiative because of the way it would have distributed the money to individual states. I intended the money for research and to make vaccines for spikes in COVID-19 infections., Night time of deferral, Pelosi nullified the proviso to consider fast entry of the Ukraine cash and the “omnibus” $1.5 trillion in government subsidizing. Democrats are hoping to debate COVID funding next week in separate legislation. After four years under President Joe Biden, the massive federal spending bill is the first to reflect Democrats’ spending priorities under President Trump. House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro said that it increased domestic non-defense spending by 6.7% over last year, the largest increase in four years.
DeLauro stated the Ukraine aid package “would help the Ukrainian people in their most desperate hour of need,” and Republicans also praised the measure, a rare display of bipartisanship in the deeply divided Congress. “We must send this bill to the president as soon as possible to respond to these acts of aggression,” said Ken Calvert, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee. He was alluding to Russia’s attack on Ukraine and explicitly the bombarding of an emergency clinic prior to Wednesday. A failure, he noted, “would be an indication of global weakness.” With money for the federal government due to run out on Friday at midnight, the Democratic-controlled House also unanimously approved a separate measure to fund the government through Tuesday.