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New spending bill earmarks $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine


President Joe Biden this week signed a massive spending bill into law that includes $13.6 billion in new aid to Ukraine, saying during a signing ceremony that the new assistance shows the United States is “moving urgently to further augment the support to the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country.”

“Today we’re again showing the American people that as a country we can come together, as Democrats and Republicans and independents, and do big things; that our democracy can deliver … and outperform autocracies, and that there’s nothing we can’t do when we do it together as the United States of America,” Biden told an audience of lawmakers at the White House.

Russia’s invasion, Biden said, has “united people all across America, united our two parties in Congress and united the freedom-loving world to act with urgency and resolve that we’re doing right now—that you provided me the ability to do.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday spoke to Congress in which he renewed his calls for steps like a no-fly zone and request help acquiring fighter jets—steps Biden has previously rejected.

The Senate passed the spending bill, known as an omnibus, on March 10 on a bipartisan vote of 68-31, after having passed three previous stopgap funding bills to keep the government running in the meantime. The omnibus will provide funding through fiscal year 2022, which started in October.

The new funding will provide additional humanitarian, security and economic assistance for Ukraine and allies in the region.

Roughly half of the aid package will be used to deploy troops to the region and send defense equipment to Ukraine, according to a summary of the bill provided by the House Appropriations Committee.

Much of the other half of the aid will provide humanitarian support for refugees fleeing Ukraine and people displaced within the country, including emergency food assistance, as well as help to respond to the economic needs in Ukraine and neighboring countries, such as cybersecurity and energy issues.

The spending bill also calls for more than $1.5 trillion in annual appropriations, excluding the Ukraine aid. That’s more than a 6-percent increase from the year before, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.