Congress Approves More Than Twice as Much Ukraine Aid Than White House Requested

Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday struck a deal to provide $14 billion in aid to Ukraine as part of a massive funding package, The New York Times reports.

Congress struck a deal on a $1.5 trillion bill that will stave off a looming government shutdown and fund key federal agencies and the military.

The bill includes $14 billion for humanitarian, military, and economic aid to Ukraine. The White House initially sought over $6 billion for Ukraine aid before bumping that number to $10 trillion as the invasion advanced.

The bill includes $6.5 billion in Pentagon funding to cover the cost of sending US troops to NATO allies in Eastern Europe, intelligence support for Ukrainian troops, and additional weapons that the administration agreed to send to Kyiv.

Biden previously authorized $350 million in weapons for Ukraine.

The package also includes $6.7 billion to help Ukrainian in the country and refugees that have fled to other nations. Another $120 million was allocated for the Justice and Treasury Departments to enforce new sanctions against Russian and Russian oligarchs.

When will it pass?

The House cited the urgency in Ukraine aid to speed up the passage of the omnibus bill but a group of Democrats objected to $15 billion in Covid aid allocated for state governments being reallocated to new federal Covid initiatives.

Still, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi vowed to hold a vote on the bill as early as Wednesday, stressing that the legislation would “strengthen our national security, bolster our economic prosperity and advance our shared democratic values.”

The bill also includes funding for defense, and the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Education, as well as the Food and Drug Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

But no jets:

The US had also signed off on Poland providing jets to Ukraine in exchange for the US providing Poland with new fighter jets. But Poland issued a “surprise” announcement on Tuesday saying they would transfer the jets to a US base in Poland instead of giving them to the Ukrainians.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday the proposal was “untenable.”

“The prospect of fighter jets ‘at the disposal of the Government of the United States of America’ departing from a U.S./NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace that is contested with Russia over Ukraine raises serious concerns for the entire NATO alliance,” he said.

“t is simply not clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for it. We will continue to consult with Poland and our other NATO allies about this issue and the difficult logistical challenges it presents, but we do not believe Poland's proposal is a tenable one,” he said.

Poland has since said that NATO countries would have to unanimously agree to provide the jets to Ukraine.


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