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Biden signs $1.2 trillion US spending bill, urges action on Ukraine aid

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 23, 2024 11:54 PM 2 min read
US President Joe Biden on Nov. 2. in the White House.
US President Joe Biden on Nov. 2, 2023, in the White House. (Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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U.S. President Joe Biden signed on March 23 a $1.2 trillion spending package that keeps the government funded until the end of September after it cleared the Senate earlier the same day.

The bill keeps key government agencies funded until the end of a fiscal year that began six months ago. Its approval has been stalled by disputes between the Democratic and Republican parties, necessitating several stopgap spending bills to avoid a government shutdown.

The funding package does not include any aid for Ukraine, which has been effectively blocked by disagreements in the U.S. legislature since last autumn.

The Senate passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill, allocating around $60 billion to Kyiv, in February, but House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to put it to a vote in his chamber.

After signing the funding bill, Biden reminded the urgency of aiding Ukraine, saying that "Congress's work isn't finished."

"The House must pass the bipartisan national security supplemental to advance our national security interests," the U.S. president said in a statement.

Earlier in March, the U.S. media reported that Johnson and other Republicans were considering significant alterations to Ukraine aid, with one version proposing treating nonmilitary aid to Ukraine as a loan.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the idea on March 20, saying that instituting such considerable changes would further delay the potential passage of the aid.

The Pentagon was able to cobble together $300 million in funding for Ukraine earlier in March, the first such aid package in months, but defense officials warned it was unlikely to be repeated and that congressional action will be required for further aid.

Opinion: As an American in Avdiivka, what is Congress doing?
I am an American military veteran, callsign “Jackie,” and I am writing from Donbas in Ukraine. I am originally from Orange County, California. I served in the U.S. military for eight years, stationed in Colorado, South Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. I also worked as a contractor at the
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