Congress Puts Together Last Minute Funding Bill That Ships Another $12.3 Billion To Ukraine

Congress cobbled together yet another stop-gap spending measure late Monday designed to avoid another federal government shutdown. The government will officially run out of money at the end of the day Friday without an emergency continuing resolution (“CR”) to keep the doors open. The deal agreed to Monday will only keep the government funded through December 16, but it hands out some of the inevitable pork that comes with every CR.

As part of the deal, the CR proposes to send yet another $12.3 billion to Ukraine as foreign aid and allocates $3 billion more for resettling Afghan refugees from Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan last year.

The CR is packed down with additional spending that didn’t make the cut in earlier spending negotiations. It allocates $1 billion for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), $2.5 billion for New Mexico in disaster relief related to the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon wildfire, and $20 million in infrastructure aid for Jackson, Mississippi to work on saving its municipal water system.

In addition to the new huge aid package for Ukraine, the CR also spends $35 million to go toward preparedness for “potential and radiological incidents in Ukraine.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also saw the Energy Independence and Security Act get included in the CR. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) promised that to Manchin earlier this year in exchange for Manchin’s critical vote in favor of the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act.”

Even though Schumer came through on his end of that trade, other Democrats may throw a wrench in the works. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has previously promised he will not vote for any measure that includes the provisions promised to Manchin.

While Republicans generally favor the expansion of domestic energy production, they favor an alternative proposed by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) told reporters on Monday night that he feels the Senate has made significant progress toward a CR “that is as clean as possible.” However, he said that if “Democrats insist on including permitting reform, I will oppose it.”

The Senate scheduled a cloture vote on the CR for Tuesday night that would advance the legislation. In the event the CR fails to advance, Congress might have to agree on an even shorter-term emergency funding bill to work on resolving disagreements while keeping the government open.