By Emily Cochrane
WASHINGTON — Congress gave final approval Friday to a short-term spending package that would keep the government open through mid-December, staving off a midnight shutdown and sending about $12.3 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine.
The House passed the measure less than 12 hours before funding was set to lapse, clearing it for President Joe Biden’s signature. It would keep the government open through Dec. 16, giving lawmakers time to iron out their considerable differences over the dozen annual spending bills.
The package included a third tranche of aid to Ukraine for its battle with Russia, on top of a total of about $54 billion approved earlier this year. With Friday’s vote, Congress has now committed more military aid to Ukraine than it has to any country in a single year since the Vietnam War, reflecting a remarkable bipartisan consensus in favor of pouring huge amounts of U.S. resources into the fight as the nation seeks to reclaim more of its territory from Russia.
Still, most House Republicans opposed the measure, which passed on a largely party-line vote of 230-201. Ten Republicans joined every present Democrat in voting for the legislation.
Passage of the bill met the last legislative deadline facing Congress before the November midterm elections. Lawmakers, eager to return the campaign trail, vowed to address outstanding disputes in the annual legislation as part of an increasingly packed to-do list for when the House and Senate return in November.
“The investments included in this bill are urgent and necessary to avoid disruptions to vital federal agencies, to help communities get back on their feet, to ensure we have the time needed to negotiate a final funding agreement that meets the needs of hardworking people,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the Appropriations Committee.
Republican leaders, however, counseled their conference to oppose the package. Although several Senate Republicans supported the package when it passed that chamber Thursday, House Republicans argued that it did little to address their priorities, including providing a substantial increase for the military and shoring up resources at the southern border.
Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, the top GOP member on the Appropriations Committee, chastised Democrats for a bill she said was being “rushed through the House today, with just hours to spare to avoid a government shutdown.”
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