Congress drops Ukraine aid

By Bryant Harris

US Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, speaks to the press before going to the House chamber to vote on a continuing resolution on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on September 30, 2023

WASHINGTON ― Congress on Saturday passed a short-term funding bill to avoid a government shutdown mere hours before the deadline and after lawmakers dropped additional support for Ukraine from the bill.After trying and failing to pass a Republican measure that would slash non-defense spending and enact strict immigration policies, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., reversed course on early Saturday morning and offered a stopgap funding bill similar to the bipartisan Senate version – minus $6 billion in Ukraine aid.This ensures troops and Defense Department employees will continue receiving their paychecks and avoids furloughing hundreds of thousands of the department’s civilian workers. However, it raises questions about Congress’ ability to pass additional Ukraine assistance only a week after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Capitol Hill in a direct appeal to lawmakers, warning that his country would lose the war without more support.The House passed the stopgap measure to fund the government through November 17 in a 335-91 vote. The Senate then passed it in an 88-9 vote.The Defense Department no longer has funds for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and the $1.5 billion it has left to backfill U.S. stockpiles of weapons that have been sent to Kyiv expires on September 30. The Pentagon says that a previous accounting error means it has approximately $5.5 billion in funds to keep transferring weapons to Ukraine past the end of the fiscal year.The White House in August asked Congress for an additional $24 billion in additional military and economic aid to Ukraine. But even in the Senate, where Ukraine enjoys broad bipartisan support, appropriators scaled that back to $6 billion.That amount included $1.5 billion in replenishment funds to backfill U.S. stocks and another $1.5 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which allows the Pentagon to place contracts for defense manufacturers to build weapons systems for Kyiv over the longer-term.But even an extra $6 billion for Ukraine proved to be too high a bar for McCarthy. While a strong, bipartisan majority of the House still supports Ukraine aid, roughly half the House Republican caucus now opposes it.House Republican leaders had to strip a separate $300 million in Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative funding from the defense spending bill on Thursday in order to pass that legislation largely along party lines. The House then voted 311-117 to send that $300 million in Ukraine funding separately to the Senate. Dozens more Republicans who had previously voted to preserve that funding in July reversed course and voted against it on Thursday.Dropping the Ukraine aid also allowed the Senate to expeditiously pass the stopgap funding bill. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., had spent the past week delaying votes on the bill to protest the Ukraine aid, but dropped his hold after its removal.Congress has passed a cumulative $113 billion in economic and security assistance for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion last year.While a shutdown would have been the worst-case scenario for the Defense Department, short-term funding bills still impose considerable constraints.Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Lisa Franchetti testified before Congress in September that the Navy will not be able to proceed with procurement on four of its nine shipbuilding programs until Congress passes a full fiscal 2024 defense spending bill. Those programs are the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine, the Virginia-class attack submarine, the Constellation-class frigate and a submarine tender replacement.The stopgap funding bill includes a carveout that would allow the Navy to procure the Columbia-class submarine – but not the other ships – before Congress approves a full budget.If Congress fails to pass a full budget by the next calendar year, the May debt ceiling agreement mandates that all federal agencies – including the Defense Department – operate on a one-year continuing resolution with a 1% cut for the rest of FY24.

Bryant Harris is the Congress reporter for Defense News. He has covered U.S. foreign policy, national security, international affairs and politics in Washington since 2014. He has also written for Foreign Policy, Al-Monitor, Al Jazeera English and IPS News.

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35 responses to “Congress drops Ukraine aid”

  1. kiers Avatar

    Cost of War in Ukraine to US:
    IMF: $115Bn
    US : $130Bn
    WB : $23Bn
    sub-Total ~$270Bn.
    +EU: ~$130Bn + $50Bn further commitment
    TOTAL so far: $400bn.

    I can’t wait till they start a QE for Ukraine.

    1. scrdmgl Avatar

      Please forgive my correction of terminology, the so called ‘War in Ukraine’ is anything but.
      Here we are simply talking about a US military campaign to bring down or destroy if necessary the Russian Federation in the Ukrainian killing fields. In a similar manner the US created and supported terrorist organizations to destroy several countries such as: Taliban, Al-Nusra, ISIS, Moderate Rebels and other assorted murderous rabble, were all used to control a number of countries and advance its strategic plans of world domination. Ukraine being a highly developed and at one time prosperous country, is being blown to bits in a manner never seen before anywhere. America in due time will have to pay dearly for all of its crimes against humanity.

      1. Nina Sakun Avatar

        Ukrainian killing fields? Are you by any chance aware that putin invaded Ukraine? That he continues to attack civilian targets? Somehow you have missed this?

      2. braithwa842 Avatar

        “putin invaded Ukraine?”… after the USA:-
        * overthrew the Ukraine
        * installed a minority Nazi minority
        * destroyed the Ukraine economy and made it dependent on the USA.
        * waged war on the Donbas for 8 years
        * completely disregarded Minsk1 and Minsk2 agreements
        * was creating a military base in the Black seak
        * had 100,00 troops on the front line
        * ignored Russia’s pleas about NATO expansion on its front lines
        * prevented Zelenski from making a peace last april
        * continually escalated the war

        What you say is what is what the MSM told us, again and again and again, but it is so far from the truth.

  2. kiers Avatar

    for the laypeople: “the accounting error” was a “markdown” after the fact! It’s like your husband gives you $500 to spend at Sak’s fifth avenue, you go there all happy and find you can’t buy anything good for that small amount of money. So you buy what you can to exhaust your husband’s tip money (well earned i suppose?), and then Sak’s comes back and says, “oh those clap trap things you bought for 500, they were only worth 300! Come back and buy some more!”

    That is the nature of the “accounting error”. LOL. If it smells like a bad fish, and tastes like a bad fish…..

    1. John Sharkey Avatar
      John Sharkey

      Yes that did sitck out like a sore thumb…thanks for explaining it…I knew it had something to do with bad smells

  3. Richard Simpson Avatar
    Richard Simpson

    Finally, a flicker of sanity. Continuing to send billions to Ukraine only pours gasoline of the fire and risks a nuclear holocaust.

  4. Woopy Avatar

    Zelinski goes to Congress telling them if he isn’t given more money, Ukraine will lose the war that they lost over a year ago. Just how dumb down is the US Congress? Zelinski and his Nazi ilk have rat holed enough of the US taxpayers money. Zelinski from what I’ve heard has a place in Florida, Switzerland, England, and a few other locations that he will hide in after this is over spending our tax dollars while thousands of US taxpayers live in the streets. Enough is enough!

  5. […] Congress drops Ukraine aid […]

  6. Stephen Berk Avatar
    Stephen Berk

    It is high time the Congress began to allocate sufficient funds to fix our own crumbling infrastructure, as well as aid students who are paying exorbitant tuition and expenses for higher education. Ukraine is next to Russia, and our outlandish aid to them is just another attempt to poke our so-called adversary in the eye. The propagandized mainstream attitude toward Russia, rivaling the Cold War, is dumb and dangerous. Wouldn’t it be nice if our excuse for a President actually negotiated with Russia, as Richard Nixon did, thus producing a safer world. Oh, but Biden would rather feed the military industrial complex.

    1. Nina Sakun Avatar

      Yes if you are a neighbor of Russia don’t try to be anything but a colony in the Russian empire. Very wise thinking. And also so ethical. Just like the advice some republican politician gave to women. When you are being raped just enjoy it. Any relation of yours?

      1. scrdmgl Avatar

        Dear Nina: We need people like you to supplement the hordes of Ukrainian Nazis exported to our country by England after WWII. I cordially invite you to move over to Canada to extoll all the benefits of the ideology. Please do not delay we need you very badly.

        1. Nina Sakun Avatar

          So many people have pointed out that putin and his Russia are fascist. But criticizing a fascist makes me a nazi in your ideological set up?

      2. braithwa842 Avatar

        “So many people have pointed out that putin and his Russia are fascist”:-
        Yup, our media has told us that again and again and again and again, until the less intelligent people start to believe that it is true.

        1. Nina Sakun Avatar

          ” our media….” no, your media is RT and whatever is to the more fascist side even of RT.

      3. exot1c Avatar

        Your fellow citizens have been killing Russians for almost 9 years, but people like you preferred not to notice this, because they were killing subhumans, Colorado beetles, katsaps, in general, anyone but people. And after that you talk about ethics? But despite this, you were given the choice to end the conflict, but you did not want to. Did you want war? And the war came to your home.

        The Chinese have a saying: Be afraid of your wishes, because they may come true.

        1. Nina Sakun Avatar

          i have no idea what you are talking about. what ukrainians were killing russians? are you just not aware that russians invaded ukraine? of course your leader putin has said that there is no ukraine, never was never will be. so how could ukrainians be killing russians when according to your putin there are no ukrainians? but of course you know that russians are the ones who think they are superior to ukrainians. when it comes to this comparison then ukrainians do exist so that they can be written off as inferior. anyway, read some news so that you can know that putin has sent russians to invade ukraine.

      4. braithwa842 Avatar

        It might surpi

      5. exot1c Avatar

        Of course you don’t understand. Only a reasonable person can understand what I said, but unfortunately you are insane and do not understand much of what I am talking about. And you are not alone in your madness, since your compatriots are just as mad. And this is unfortunate.

        1. Nina Sakun Avatar
          Nina Sakun

          yes, for a russian it is insane to want to be not russian. you have been so brainwashed by centuries of empire expansion that to you it is the most sane thing in the world to invade and subjugate other countries. how dare they resist the invasion! they must be insane

      6. exot1c Avatar

        The Nazis said the same thing during the war. Obsessed with the idea of racial purity, they also wanted nothing to do with the Jews. Despite the fact that many Germans had Jewish ancestors.

    2. Nina Sakun Avatar

      Ah yes Nixon such a role model

      1. Woopy Avatar

        Nina, it’s been explained to you more than once. What the problem in Ukraine was and is now. The problem is that the US trashed the democratically elected government of Ukraine. Following the Nazis of Ukraine begin killing ethnic Russians. If that wasn’t enough, John McCain and Lindsey Graham traveled to Ukraine and told the Ukrainian government people that the US would back them if they would fight Russia. Following that the US and its vassal states of Europe begin sending weapons and massive amounts of money to Ukraine so they could fight Russia. Russia set quietly for 8 years with his going on until finally it couldn’t wait any longer. Thousands of ethnic Russians were killed by Ukrainian forces backed by the US. Now how much clear does this need to be for you to understand.

      2. braithwa842 Avatar

        “I have no idea …”

        You dont know. You dont know about the Nazis that the USA put in charge of the Ukraine, and you dont know that they were killing Russians. Yes, for over 8 years Nina. If you only get your information from our media, then you will never know.
        But everybody else here knows.
        If you wanted to know, then browse Information Clearing House. You have much to learn.

        1. Nina Sakun Avatar

          ukraine has a very very small percentage of nazis. smaller than in other countries. russia is chock full of fascists, with the main superfascist putin in charge. this does not disturb you. but the few nazis in ukraine are a big problem. these are the talking points that you have absorbed (or helped to spread) spouted by the russian fascists.

  7. Disadvantaged Avatar

    I have no doubt additional funding will be made available to the Ukraine around Christmas time when the American people are not looking. The government fiscal year begins October 1, 2023 and ends September 30, 2024. By the ending of that accounting year, the Federal Budget deficit will be between 1.5 and 1.6 trillion dollars. The national debt will be about around 34.5 trillion dollars and the interest on that debt will exceed one trillion dollars a year from now on. If the United States goes into a moderate or severe recession, the number for the national debt will be higher. All the other numbers will be higher as well.

    Will the war hawks in the Biden Administration and the Congress be as concern about the American people, if we go into a severe recession? Probably yes, but only for themselves, because they may become unemployed in January 2025. Now, we have a real crisis. Where will Senators, and members of the House go to find a job? Well, there is an opening right now in the Senate, but you will have to move to California to be considered for that position and be well known to the governor.

    1. Nina Sakun Avatar

      Biden is a Warhawk. Putin who invaded Ukraine is his innocent victim. Makes sense in RTland

      1. braithwa842 Avatar

        An innocent victim overthrown, imposed with a Nazi minority government, and made to expend half a million men fighting a nation that it can NEVER beat.

        1. Nina Sakun Avatar

          where do you find all these ukrainian nazis? here is putin, the obvious and proud fascist, but you can’t see it? why not? RT won’t allow it? or is fascism a good thing? where did you find a minority government in ukraine? i hope you at least get paid for your efforts

      2. braithwa842 Avatar

        Here on ICH, we are all familiar with western propaganda, but we are not talking about what you can see on the TV here. Instead we are talking about reality. You dont know about the coup in 2014, and who the USA put in power in the Ukraine? Nina, showing Nazis with their tattoos have been banned from most social media. The media wont show you either. Why? Because they dont want you to know. Instead, they will tell the same B.S. story you are telling. Go look up Victoria Nuland’s phone call where she said she would put Yats in power. Look up where she boasted of the $10B creating the coup.

      3. Woopy Avatar

        Nina you need to check in for a brain transplant because the one you have is obviously not functioning appropriately.

    2. Woopy Avatar

      The joke of the day is when some congressmen said that corruption must be cleaned up in Ukraine before the US gives Ukraine anymore money. Ukraine has been corrupted forever and forever would be needed to clean it up. The good news is that more hard earned tax money won’t be given to Ukraine if the corruption needs to be cleaned up. It can’t happen. First let’s start cleaning up the corruption in the US government and take care of our homeless, border problems, then take the banking system away from the Zionists.

      1. abraham Weizfeld PhD Avatar

        Dropping an ignorant comment about Zionist control of US banks meaning Jewish control, is Nazi-inspired propaganda. That needs to be denounced and is here. Just look and see that the last crisis the one bank that was left to die was a Jewish bank Lehmans, and until you prove otherwise the one Jewish-owned bank that is major. So i challenge you to prove otherwise.

    1. Woopy Avatar

      Who owns and controls the federal reserve? Why are Jewish people in charge of the federal reserve? When was the last time a non Jew was the federal reserve chairman? When was the last time a non Jewish person was the the treasurer? Why is the Biden cabinet positions occupied with 90 percent Jewish people? Why is the state department occupied and administrated by Jewish people such as Anthony Blinken and Victoria Nuland. Why do Jews have an office in the Justice department? This list is too long for this blog but you and your PhD must surely get the picture. If not please go somewhere else and pedal your garbage.