Congress has released details of a stop-gap spending bill to fund the government through mid-December and provide $12.3 billion in aid for Ukraine’s defense against the brutal Russian invasion.
The continuing resolution (CR) also provides an additional $3 billion for Afghan resettlement programs following the messy U.S. withdrawal from the country last year.
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The spending bill is a short-term measure to fund the government until Dec. 16 and give legislators more time to hammer out a longer-term deal. The federal government will shut down if the CR is not passed by the end of Friday.
The total for Ukraine comes after President Joe Biden requested $13.7 billion in additional funding earlier this month. It brings the total assistance approved by Congress for the war torn nation to roughly $65 billion.
Other provisions in the massive CR include $1 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance and $2.5 billion to assist in wildfire recovery efforts for New Mexico from the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon fire.
Jackson, Mississippi, which is reeling from a clean water crisis, gets $20 million in infrastructure funding. Ominously, there is an additional $35 million to ready for possible “radiological incidents in Ukraine.”
Part of the new CR is the fulfillment of a pledge made by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to centrist Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin (WV). The Energy Independence and Security Act is set to drastically cut the time needed for the government to conduct environmental reviews.
This addition is controversial, and both Republicans and Democrats favor different measures than the one supported by Manchin.
Permitting reform is opposed by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. On Monday, Shelby declared that he will oppose the CR if Manchin’s project is included.
Republicans generally prefer Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s (R-WV) alternative measure.
The GOP wanted a CR as “clean” as possible, meaning as few pet projects added on as they could get through. Friday is the deadline, and both sides are digging in for what could be a contentious few days of negotiations.