- The Senate has unveiled a bill with bipartisan support that would keep the U.S. government funded until Nov. 17 while Congress negotiates a permanent spending deal.
- The Senate’s bill includes over $6 billion in funding for Ukraine as aid during its war against Russia, as well as provisions to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and protect federal workers from being dismissed.
- “[T]his legislation prevents a shutdown, keeps our government funded, and provides … support [for] Ukraine at a pivotal moment in its defensive efforts against Putin,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray wrote.
The Senate’s bipartisan continuing resolution to fund the government after Sept. 30 contains additional funding to aid Ukraine, provisions to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and protections for federal workers in the case of a potential shutdown, according to its text.
The bill, released by Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patty Murray’s office, would keep the government funded until Nov. 17 to enable members of Congress to reach an agreement on funding for the remainder of the 2024 fiscal year, which begins on Saturday. The bill includes funding for Ukraine as aid during its war against Russia, as well as reauthorizes the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to continue operating until Dec. 31. (RELATED: Senate Reaches Bipartisan Funding Agreement Seeking To Avoid Government Shutdown)
“[T]his legislation prevents a shutdown, keeps our government funded, and provides critical dollars to support communities struck by disaster and support Ukraine at a pivotal moment in its defensive efforts against Putin’s brutal, unprovoked war of aggression,” Murray wrote in a statement accompanying the bill. “This bill ensures wildland firefighters will not see a pay cut, and it prevents critical laws from lapsing to ensure the FAA and community health centers can continue operating.”
Rep. Donalds (R-FL) said the Senate’s proposal for a continuing resolution was dead-on-arrival with House Republicans because of its funding for Ukraine and lack of funding for border security. “This government should not continue to be funded if we don’t secure our border.” pic.twitter.com/isbqB8TJto
— CSPAN (@cspan) September 27, 2023
The bill allocates $4.499 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, which has been opposed by GOP members of the House of Representatives. The money may also be used to replenish weapons stockpiles depleted by such provision, and the bill requires the department to provide a “detailed execution plan” for how the funds will be spent within 10 days of enactment.
Of that money, $3 million is allocated to fund the department’s inspector general for oversight of how it will be spent. The bill would separately allocate $1.65 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, with $2 million being allocated to the inspectors general of the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to investigate fraud and abuse of such funding.
The bill also allocates $2 million in emergency funding to the Government Accountability Office, a non-partisan agency of Congress, to conduct some oversight of Ukrainian aid, in addition to other programs.
The inclusion of aid to Ukraine, while supported by moderate Republicans and nearly all Democrats in both houses of Congress, has been opposed by some members of the House Freedom Caucus, as well as Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who have vowed to vote against any bill that includes it.
The bill also extends benefits to Ukrainian nationals who have received “parole” — an immigration benefit enabling them to remain in the United States for the duration of hostilities — while the continuing resolution remains in effect.
Apart from Ukraine, the bill appropriates $2.9 billion for the FAA to continue its operations. It also includes provisions for the duration of the shutdown that restrict furloughs and the termination of federal employees to save money, while mandating that “non-personnel administrative expenses” should be reduced or deferred.
The funding provided in the bill is curated to conform to the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA), a bill enacted by Congress in May to raise the national debt ceiling after negotiations between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The conformity comes after Democrats criticized McCarthy and House Republicans for allegedly breaking the agreement reached during those negotiations by permitting House appropriations bills to spend at levels lesser than the maximums authorized by the FRA.
The bill has not yet been passed by the Senate. Unlike earlier legislation brokered by Republican Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida between the Freedom Caucus and the Main Street Caucus, a moderate Republican group, the bill does not include specific border security provisions, which were part of the “Secure The Border Act” passed by the House earlier this year.
“I don’t see the support in the House,” McCarthy said of the Senate’s bill on Wednesday. The bill could pass, however, if at least five Republicans join all Democrats in supporting the bill if it is brought to a floor.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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