D.C. Pork Alert: Why Did Congress Just Pass $1.5 Trillion Just To Send $13 Billion To Ukraine?

Written By BlabberBuzz | Saturday, 12 March 2022 02:15
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Wednesday, Democrat and Republican House members reportedly reached a $1.5 trillion deal overnight to fund the government for the 2022 fiscal year.

According to Reuters, with the Friday deadline for the expiration of funding for federal agencies, the House was also reportedly set to vote on a stop-gap funding resolution allowing the government to remain running through March 15.

The $1.5 trillion deal reportedly includes $13.6 billion in funding for security and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, as well as $15.6 billion allocated for COVID-19.

The omnibus plan will also comprise money for infrastructure, $730 billion in non-defense funding, and $782 billion in defense funding.

The nearly $13.6 billion devoted to Ukraine includes $6.5 billion for the Defense Department, with $3.5 billion to replenish equipment sent to Ukraine and $3 billion for U.S. troops helping to defend NATO in Europe. The bill would also provide money for humanitarian aid to support Ukraine’s energy grid and combat disinformation.

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Originally, the spending bill was slated to allocate $15.6 billion for the COVID pandemic response domestically and abroad. But that funding was cut after the bill ran into trouble.

“This bipartisan agreement will help us address many of the major challenges we face at home and abroad: from COVID-19 to the vicious and immoral attack on Ukraine, to the need to lower costs for hardworking American families,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer declared in a joint statement.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter Wednesday that COVID funding would be removed, blaming Republicans for depriving Americans of “urgently needed” COVID assistance. “It is heartbreaking to remove the COVID funding, and we must continue to fight for urgently needed COVID assistance, but unfortunately that will not be included in this bill,” she said. The overall spending measure, which funds the government through September 30, would provide increases to both defense and non-defense programs over 2021 levels.

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The House is scheduled to vote on the passage of the deal, as well as the stop-gap funding measure. They are also expected to vote on a bill banning Russian energy imports, mirroring the announcement made by President Biden.

Previously, Democrats could not repeal the Hyde Amendment, a decades-old policy that prohibits federal programs like Medicaid from paying for abortions. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been eager to send billions of dollars in military, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as Washington and the European Union continue to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies with crippling sanctions.

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