Politics

Congress Stuffs $12 Billion In Ukraine Aid Into Government Funding Bill: REPORT

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Congress has complied with the Biden administration’s request to include $12 billion for Ukraine in its stopgap funding bill, Reuters reported Monday.

GOP senators remained divided over whether to support the funding request in the continuing resolution, a funding bill that needs to be passed by Sept. 30 to avert a government shutdown, CNN reported on Sept. 19. However, a source familiar with the ongoing negotiations said Congress had agreed to $12 billion in aid on top of the $4o billion authorized in May, Reuters reported. (RELATED: Democrats To Lard Up Must-Pass Funding Bill With Partisan Provisions)

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told CNN the funding package would contain a combination of military, humanitarian and economic assistance.

“I think whatever we do on Ukraine, we ought to be doing it separately from the CR,” Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott previously said to CNN, referring to the continuing resolution. “I think we’ve gotta have a clean CR that goes through Congress.”

Some Republican lawmakers accused Biden of attempting to stuff a massive amount of aid in the funding package to boost Democrats’ prospects ahead of the midterms, Fox News reported. If Republicans vote against the bill in protest against the lack of accountability measures available to monitor the aid, the Biden administration could construe GOP opposition as tacit support for or apathy toward Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war in Ukraine.

“This newest call from President Biden is simply a superficial midterm election gimmick that will only damage our country in both the short and long term,” said Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona told Fox News earlier in September.

However, the administration asked for funding in accord with the Ukrainian army’s needs and capabilities on the battlefield, a spokesperson for the National Security Council told Fox News.

Ukraine’s recent success in taking back territory Russia occupied early in the war has bolstered the administration’s confidence that Western equipment and support is playing a decisive role in fueling the advance of the overmatched Ukrainian military.

So far, the Biden administration has distributed roughly $15 billion in aid to Ukraine since January 2021, with most of that coming after the Russian invasion in February 2022.

“Roughly three-quarters of the direct military and budgetary support that Congress previously provided for Ukraine has been disbursed or committed, with even more expected by the end of the fiscal year,” the White House’s budget director said on Aug. 30.

In May, 57 GOP senators and 11 representatives had opposed the larger funding bill over the potential for corruption, facing backlash from Democratic congressmembers for being “soft on Putin,” Fox News reported.

“We all want to help, we’re all appalled by what Russia has done in Ukraine,” Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry told Fox news.  “But we also have to stand up for accountability for the American taxpayer and how their money is being spent and where.”

The continuing resolution will also include humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan, the source told Reuters.

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