Senate blocks government shutdown, approves Ukraine aid

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks to reporters after the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2018. 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Senate passed a $1.5 trillion funding bill Thursday night to keep the government running through September and boost humanitarian and military efforts in Ukraine.

The law will be signed by President Joe Biden. House passed it on Wednesday.

The Senate passed the funding bill in a 68-31 vote.

Congress had to pass a spending bill on Friday to prevent a government shutdown. Funding constraints could lead to a drop in federal workers, hamper the economy and force the government to downsize services.

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Lawmakers passed the full-year spending bill after keeping the light on for months through continuing interim resolutions, which fund government at current levels.

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

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

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “We are providing Ukrainians with billions of dollars to buy food, medicine, shelter and assistance for the more than two million refugees who have had to leave Ukraine, as well as funding the delivery of weapons such as Javelins and Stingers”. of votes.

The House of Representatives had to remove $15.6 billion in additional coronavirus relief funds from the plan after a dispute over how to meet Republican demands to offset spending. Although the House aims to pass the pandemic aid bill next week, it may not have enough GOP support to pass the Senate.

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

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