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Congress reaches deal to avert government shutdown with no plans for Ukraine aid

by Olena Goncharova February 29, 2024 4:56 AM 2 min read
The U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 13, 2023. (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Congressional Integrity Project)
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U.S. congressional leaders announced on Feb. 28 a tentative agreement to avert a government shutdown, days before a looming deadline that threatened to disrupt federal operations.

The agreement involves temporary funding measures for different sets of federal agencies, with funding extended through March 8 and another set through March 22, the Washington Post reports. However, there is currently no immediate plan in place to approve the $95 billion emergency national security funds intended for Ukraine, Israel, and other allies.

“We are in agreement that Congress must work in a bipartisan manner to fund our government,” said the joint statement from House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, along with the Appropriation Committee leaders.

Johnson confirmed that the House is scheduled to vote on Feb. 29 to authorize the temporary funds, aiming to pass the measure before Friday's deadline when certain federal funds are set to expire. The Senate is anticipated to follow suit with their vote.

As negotiators in Congress strive to finalize a federal spending plan, the deal emerges amidst heightened anticipation both in Washington and among U.S. allies like Ukraine. Hold-ups in U.S. assistance continue to put a strain on Ukraine's defense capabilities, contributing to the loss of the key front-line city of Avdiivka, acknowledged by several U.S. officials.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned during his visit to Lviv earlier this month that Ukraine is at risk of losing the war without American aid.

Schumer added that the failure to support Ukraine would hurt the standing of the U.S. in the world and increase the likelihood of further conflict in the future, which could potentially require American boots on the ground.

"If we let autocrats of the world succeed here, they will not stop. We will see greater trouble and conflict in Europe, with China, Iran, in the Middle East," Schumer said during a press conference attended by a Kyiv Independent reporter in Lviv on Feb. 23.

Ukraine war latest: Russia attempts to push Ukrainian troops out of Krynky using ‘human waves’
Key developments on Feb. 28: * Military: Russia uses ‘human wave’ attacks near Krynky in Kherson Oblast * Belgium pledges $216 million to Czech ammunition initiative for Ukraine * Bulgaria to send 100 armored vehicles to Ukraine ‘in few days,’ defense minister says * Von der Leyen urges Europe…

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