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US Congress passes bill to avert government shutdown without Ukraine aid

by Martin Fornusek March 1, 2024 9:18 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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Both chambers of the U.S. Congress approved a short-term stopgap spending bill to avoid a partial government shutdown, sending it for signature to President Joe Biden, Reuters reported on Feb. 29.

The bill, setting deadlines to fund one part of the government by March 8 and another by March 22, does not include additional funding in Ukraine, which has been stuck in Congress since last autumn.

The U.S. Senate on Feb. 13 passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, as well as funds for Israel and other allies, but the proposal is yet to be approved by the House of Representatives.

After delaying the vote for weeks, House Speaker Mike Johnson said on Feb. 29 that his chamber would consider the foreign aid bill "as soon as the government is funded."

Holdups in U.S. assistance have put a significant strain on Ukraine's efforts to resist Russian aggression, causing ammunition shortages and contributing to the loss of a key front-line city of Avdiivka.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer warned during his visit to Lviv in February that Ukraine is at risk of losing the war without American aid, urging the House Speaker to put the bill to a vote.

Despite the opposition by some hardline House Republicans, Schumer believes that there are enough votes in the lower chamber to approve the funding.

US Senator Schumer in Lviv: ‘Without aid, Ukraine will lose war, with aid it will win’
Directing his comments to House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senator Richard Blumenthal said that the U.S. must “pay now, or pay later.”
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