The US Senate has agreed on a provisional deal for a spending bill to prevent a federal budget crisis, but not without compromise. Lawmakers have decided to cut nearly $20 billion in proposed aid for Ukraine after facing opposition from some Republicans. The Senate completed the debate on the budget legislation on Tuesday night and has garnered enough support to move forward to a final vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, expressed the efforts of both parties in reaching an agreement. He stated, “All through the weekend – night and day – Senate Democrats and Republicans worked in good faith to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded and avert a shutdown.”
The temporary bill will provide $6.2 billion for assistance to Ukraine, a significant decrease from the Democrats’ initial request of nearly $25 billion. While many Republicans have accepted this lower amount, some GOP members have vowed to oppose any measure that includes funding for Ukraine.
Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul voiced his opposition to funding Ukraine, stating, “It’s bad policy to bankrupt our own country to send money to Ukraine.” He further declared that he would not consent to any spending bill that includes Ukraine aid. Despite Paul’s resistance, it appears that the Senate is nearing an agreement on the budget measure. However, the bill still needs to be reconciled with a separate version advancing through the House.
Lawmakers in both chambers have until September 30 to finalize the legislation for President Joe Biden’s signature to avoid a government shutdown.
The House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, has yet to comment on whether he will accept the Senate’s alterations to the spending bill. Congressional Republicans have been adamant about seeking deeper budget cuts and have been vocal in their opposition to Ukraine aid. McCarthy mentioned that he would not discuss hypotheticals regarding the Senate bill but hinted that his party would focus on increasing border funding in their own version.
While senior White House officials have warned that a federal shutdown would affect US military aid to Ukraine, the Pentagon has contradicted those claims.
The final outcome of the spending bill remains uncertain, as both chambers must come to an agreement. The compromise between Democrats and Republicans is crucial to prevent a government shutdown and ensure the allocation of funds to various priorities, including Ukraine assistance. The next few days will be crucial in determining the fate of the spending bill and averting a potential crisis.