House passes state aid to avoid shutdown


The House of Representatives voted Friday to approve a bill to fund the government through Dec. 16 and avert a shutdown just hours before the midnight deadline when the funding is set to expire.

Now that the House has passed the bill, it will go to President Joe Biden for his signature. The Senate passed the measure on a bipartisan basis Thursday.

Lawmakers have expressed confidence there won’t be a shutdown, but it’s typical of Congress in recent years to run right up against funding deadlines.

Partly this is because the opposing parties have an easier time entering into agreements at the last minute to prevent a shutdown under tight time pressure.

This time, neither party wants to be blamed for a shutdown — especially so close to the subsequent midterm elections in November, when control of Congress is at stake and as Democrats and Republicans both try to make their case to voters that they must be in the majority. Lawmakers up for re-election are also eager to wrap up work on Capitol Hill so they can return to their home states to campaign.

In addition to money to keep government agencies afloat, the short-term funding measure unveiled earlier this week provides about $12 billion to Ukraine as it continues to counter Russia’s invasion of the country, and will require the Pentagon to report on how US dollars have been used there. Aid to Ukraine is a bipartisan priority.

The continuing decision would also extend an expiring FDA user fee program for five years.

The $12 billion in additional funding for Ukraine provides money for the United States to continue sending weapons to replenish American stockpiles that have been sent to the country over the past seven months during the ongoing conflict.

To continue providing Ukraine with weapons to counter Russia’s offensive, the bill allocates an additional $3 billion to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. This pot of money allows the US to procure and buy weapons from industry and ship them to the country instead of drawing directly from US stockpiles of weapons.

The bill also authorizes an additional $3.7 billion in funding from the President’s Withdrawal Authority, which allows the United States to ship weapons directly from U.S. stockpiles, and $1.5 billion is included to “replenish U.S. stockpiles of equipment” delivered to Ukraine, a fact sheet from Senate Democrats on the bill says.

The bill designates $4.5 billion to the “Economic Support Fund” to provide “support to maintain the operations of the national government of Ukraine,” the fact sheet said.

The United States has provided significant economic and military support to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of the country began in February, and has committed “more than $16.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine” since the Russian invasion began in February, a Defense Department statement said Wednesday . .

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

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