House passes $1.5 trillion spending plan: Ukraine aid, COVID funding

It received bipartisan support and passed 361-69.

The House on Wednesday approved measures to ban Russian energy products, provide billions in aid to Ukraine and fund the government until the fall – but only after Democratic infighting forced leaders party to withdraw more than $15 billion in COVID aid from the package.

With the federal government expected to run out of funding as early as Friday, the $1.5 trillion package will avoid a shutdown until September, while adding billions in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine after the invasion of the Russia. The House also passed a four-day interim measure to give the Senate time to approve the broader package.

The bill, which includes $13.6 billion in humanitarian and defense assistance to Ukraine, received bipartisan support and passed 361 to 69 along party lines.

The new aid to Ukraine, billions more than originally requested by the Biden administration, is split equally between humanitarian and military aid, includes millions to help feed and resettle displaced Ukrainians and nearly $2 billion in potential economic aid for Ukraine and neighboring countries.

Of the $6.5 billion in emergency defense assistance, the program allocates $3.5 billion to help arm Ukrainian and allied forces in the region with U.S. military stockpiles, and $3 billion to additional dollars to support the deployment of additional US troops and equipment to Europe.

House Democrats were forced to cut $15 billion in COVID-19 funding for therapeutics and research from the spending package after an internal revolt by members who objected to the reallocation of unspent relief that Congress had previously approved for States to use at their discretion.

Pelosi, who called the COVID-19 funding cut “heartbreaking,” told reporters the change was needed to get the package clear of the Senate, where a 50-50 split forces Democrats to lean on the votes of at least 10 Republicans.

“We are in a legislative process. We have a deadline. We are keeping government open,” she said. “We had a lively negotiation.”

“Some members are disappointed,” Pelosi continued. “‘I didn’t get what I wanted in the bill’ – you talk to Noah about the flood.”

Pelosi, however, said the House would pass a standalone COVID funding bill on Wednesday with a plan for the bill to be debated and voted on next week.

Separately, the chamber also approved a measure to ban the import of Russian petroleum and energy products a day after President Joe Biden signed an executive order to the same effect.

The bill would also require the administration to consider taking steps to suspend Russia from the World Trade Organization and expand language in the Magnitsky Act — a sanctions law approved by Congress in 2012 — to allow the Biden administration to impose additional sanctions on Russia. officials and individuals connected with the war in Ukraine.

Democratic leaders made changes to that legislation — originally crafted with Republicans in both chambers — after the White House raised concerns that it would be harder for Biden to ease sanctions on the Russia if the Kremlin defused Ukraine.

Another provision to suspend trade relations with Russia and Belarus has been adjusted at the request of the White House, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, told reporters on Wednesday.

“It was taken down because the president rightly wants to talk to our allies about this action, which I think was appropriate,” he said.

Democrats were expected to pass the measures earlier than expected Wednesday evening, allowing them to salvage their retirement from caucusing in Philadelphia which was originally scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon.

President Biden will address caucus in Philadelphia on Friday.

ABC News

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