WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed into law a bill on Friday that funds the federal government until mid-December and provides another infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine after lawmakers acted to avert a partial government shutdown that was due to begin after midnight.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 230 to 201 earlier in the day. Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the measure. Some wanted to extend government funding until January when, based on midterm election results, they may have more leverage in setting federal spending for the full fiscal year. Others argued that the measure should do more to ensure border security.
Democrats said passage of the bill was important to help Ukraine as well as victims of recent natural disasters in the United States, including Hurricane Ianas it provides a Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster fund with a year’s worth of money up front rather than two and a half months.
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“Turn on the news. See what is happening in florida at present. To look at what happened in puerto rico. To look at what is happening in alaska. I mean, people need help,” said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. “And look at what is happening in Ukraine. Do we support the preservation of democracy in Ukraine or not? That’s what’s at stake here.
But Republicans have complained that the proposed bill was not subject to bipartisan negotiations in the House and did not reflect their priorities.
“We know we have a crisis on the southern border. You can turn on the TV every night. You can watch the fentanyl pouring into the country, you can see the tragedy of human trafficking. Is there anything in this bill that asks us to do something different, something new? said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. current situation at the southern border.’ It’s a parody.”
In the end, support for the bill was unanimous among Democratic lawmakers. Only 10 Republican lawmakers joined them in voting yes.
The bill funds the federal government until Dec. 16 and gives lawmakers more time to agree on legislation setting spending levels for fiscal year 2023. The bill generally keeps spending at current levels, despite providing more than $12.3 billion in Ukraine-related aid. The money will be used to provide training, equipment and logistical support to the Ukrainian military, to help the Ukrainian government provide basic services to its citizens and to replenish US weapons systems and ammunition.
“This contribution ensures that we continue to uphold our moral responsibility to support the people of Ukraine in the face of a vicious invasion that continues to demand decisive action from us,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Disaster aid was also attached to the stopgap bill, including $2.5 billion to help New Mexico communities recover from Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire, the largest wildfire in state history; $2 billion for a block grant program that helps with the economic recovery of communities affected by recent disasters; and $20 million for previously authorized water and wastewater infrastructure improvements for Jackson, Mississippi.
“We cannot leave behind communities that continue to pick up the pieces of disastrous floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and even basic water supply system failures,” the representative said. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for a program that helps low-income households heat their homes. And he would transfer $3 billion from a Pentagon aid program to the State Department for continuation of Afghan resettlement operations.
Lawmakers also included a reauthorization of the Food and Drug Administration’s user fee agreements for five years, which ensures the agency can continue critical product safety reviews and will not need to issue pink slips for thousands of employees working on drug and medical device applications.
One thing missing from the bill is the billions of dollars in additional funding that Biden was seeking. contribute to the response to COVID-19 and monkeypox. Republicans have criticized health spending as wasteful. The White House said the money would have been used to accelerate research and development of vaccines and therapies, prepare for future variants of COVID and support the global response.
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