Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Tuesday that they had reached a bipartisan agreement on a short-term budget deal that would keep the government running until November 17 and provide $6 billion in aid to Ukraine amid rising tensions with Russia. However, the deal faces uncertainty in the House, where some Democrats and Republicans have expressed opposition to the Ukraine funding and other aspects of the bill.
The Senate’s continuing resolution (CR) is a “clean” bill that does not include any controversial policy riders or changes to the debt limit, which is expected to be reached by mid-October. The bill also includes funding for disaster relief, Afghan refugees, and health care programs. Schumer and McConnell praised the deal as a sign of cooperation and urged the House to pass it quickly to avoid a government shutdown by Saturday.
“We have reached an agreement on a clean CR that will fund the government through November 17th and provide critical assistance to our ally Ukraine as they face Russian aggression,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “This is a good outcome for the American people and for our national security.”
McConnell echoed Schumer’s remarks and said the deal was “the product of good-faith bipartisan negotiations.” He added that the Ukraine aid was “essential” to deter Russia from further escalating the conflict in the region. “The United States must stand with our friends and partners in Kyiv as they face down this threat,” McConnell said.
However, the Senate’s CR may not have an easy path in the House, where some members of both parties have raised objections to the Ukraine aid and other provisions. Some progressive Democrats have argued that the aid should be conditioned on human rights and anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine, while some conservative Republicans have questioned the need for the aid and the timing of the bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday that she was “pleased” with the Senate’s agreement, but did not commit to bringing it to the floor for a vote. She said she would consult with her caucus and the White House on the next steps. “We’ll see what they send us and then we’ll go from there,” Pelosi said.
The House is also facing pressure from the White House to pass a separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion social spending and climate bill, which are key parts of President Joe Biden’s agenda. However, the two bills have been stalled by divisions within the Democratic Party over the size and scope of the spending and the revenue sources to pay for it.
The CR is a stopgap measure that would only fund the government for a few more weeks, and lawmakers will still have to address the debt limit and the long-term budget before the end of the year. The CR also does not include any funding for the border wall, which was a priority for former President Donald Trump and some Republicans. The bill also does not address the immigration crisis at the southern border, which has been a source of controversy and criticism for the Biden administration.