Senate prevents government shutdown, approves aid to Ukraine

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks with reporters after Senate Democrats’ weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., on March 1, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Senate passed a $1.5 trillion financing bill Thursday night to keep the government working until September and supporting both humanitarian and military efforts in Ukraine.

The legislation goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The House of Representatives passed it on Wednesday.

The Senate passed the financing bill by a vote of 68-31.

Congress had to pass a spending bill Friday to avoid a government shutdown. Loss of funding can lead to federal workers’ leave, hamper the economy and force governments to scale back services.

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Lawmakers passed a year-long spending bill after keeping the lights on for months through temporary rolling resolutions, funding the government at the existing level.

The bill passed Thursday includes $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine as the country enters its third week of fending off a Russian invasion. The money will go to help Ukrainians displaced by the Russian attack, including the more than 2 million people who have fled the country.

It will also fund the deployment of military equipment and troops to Europe.

“We are giving Ukrainians billions for food, medicine, shelter and support for the more than two million refugees who have been forced to leave Ukraine, as well as funding for arms transfers such as Javelins and Stingers,” Senate Leader Chuck Schumer said. of the vote.

The House had to cut $15.6 billion in additional funds for coronavirus relief from the plan after a dispute over how to meet Republican demands to offset spending. While the House plans to pass the pandemic relief bill next week, it may not have enough GOP support to get through the Senate.

Schumer said Congress “absolutely must” try to approve more corona aid in the coming weeks.

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