By Oyintari Ben
The US Senate approved a short-term government budget extension that would avert a shutdown at the end of the week on Thursday. A vote of 72 to 25 resulted in the bill’s bipartisan approval.
The stopgap measure would prolong funding through December 16 rather than ending government funding on Friday at midnight, potentially setting up a financial showdown for the remainder of the year.
After being approved by the Senate, the proposal must be passed by the House before being forwarded to President Joe Biden for his signature.
However, it has become customary for Congress in recent years to work up until funding deadlines, despite lawmakers’ assurances that there won’t be a shutdown.
The short-term funding plan released earlier this week includes money to keep government departments operating as well as $12 billion for Ukraine to continue fending against Russia’s incursion and would request for the Pentagon to report on how US dollars have been used there. Ukraine assistance is a top priority for both parties in the Senate.
The $12 billion in further funding for Ukraine provides money for the US to continue supplying weaponry, money to restock US inventories of weapons that have been transferred to Ukraine during the ongoing battle for the previous seven months, as well as additional economic aid.
The US has committed “more than $16.2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine” since the Russian invasion started in February, according to a Department of Defence release on Wednesday. The US has also given Ukraine substantial economic and military support since Russia’s invasion of the country began in February.