Lawmakers hammer out funding deal with boosted Ukraine request

White House budget director Shalanda Young, in a letter Thursday outlining the emergency request, called on Congress to “address these critical and urgent needs” as part of the catchall spending package leaders are trying to enact before the March 11 government shutdown deadline.

The lead lawmakers on appropriations aim to unveil bill text in the next few days, and House Democrats plan to pass the sweeping spending legislation on Tuesday, sending it on to the Senate well before government funding is set to run out.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said Wednesday that lawmakers have “made some breakthroughs” in endgame negotiations on the package but are still “trying to work out all obstacles between us” in the race to produce bill text by early next week.

“Until it’s sealed, nothing’s sealed,” said Shelby, who serves as his party’s top appropriator in the Senate. “We’ve got to close the deal.”

The emergency aid to Ukraine could either be sewn right into the package or “run simultaneously” as a separate bill passed alongside the broader funding measure, Shelby said.

The White House’s updated Ukraine request includes $4.8 billion for the Pentagon, including $1.8 billion to cover the cost of deploying thousands of U.S. troops to Europe to reassure NATO countries on Russia’s periphery. Another $1.3 billion would go toward cyber operations and $1.75 billion would allow the Pentagon to replenish stocks of weapons and equipment that were shipped to Ukraine.

Another $5 billion would go toward the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development for security, humanitarian and economic assistance. Smaller amounts would be dedicated to the departments of Commerce, Energy, Justice and Treasury.

Still, the White House expects more money may be needed as the crisis in Ukraine unfolds. Young told lawmakers she expects “additional needs may arise over time,” considering the “rapidly evolving” situation in Ukraine.

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Author: Political Admin


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