Ukraine extension of military aid passes US House after White House delay


WASHINGTON ― The US House on Thursday passed legislation to ensure Ukraine can spend $ 250 million on military aid after the White House delayed it this summer.

The language was among the provisions attached to a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown until November 21 to gain more time for congressional spending negotiations. The Senate is expected to pass and pass the interim spending bill as is next week.

The bill would extend funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative by one year, which would otherwise expire after September 30. The White House released the aid last week under pressure from lawmakers who said Ukraine must help with its ongoing conflict with Russia-backed separatists. Although lawmakers have expressed fears that Kiev will not have enough time to spend the money.

For the Defense Ministry, the interim spending bill would explicitly prevent new start-up programs and multi-year activities, with a few exceptions.

The continuing resolution comes as Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Republican plans to advance a budget package including $ 693 billion in defense spending for fiscal 2020.

Congress struck a two-year, bipartisan budget deal in July that sets funding levels for defense and non-military programs, but the president’s decision earlier this month to shift $ 3.6 billion in military construction funds to its border wall has complicated the passage of individual spending bills.

The RC passed the House with a bipartisan 301-123, although a notable “no” was the ranks of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, who said it stymied the promise. of the budget agreement of “stable and predictable funding” for the military. .

“We cannot ask the troops once again to pay for the failure of Congress to do our job, or to hold them hostage to the partisan desires of either side,” Thornberry said.

Joe Gould is the Congressional and Industry reporter at Defense News, covering defense budget and policy issues on Capitol Hill as well as industry news.

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