Congressional appropriators have proposed $12.3 billion in new Ukraine aid supplemental funding as part of a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open through Dec. 16, to include more than $7 billion in additional military assistance efforts.
The Senate is set to vote Tuesday evening on a legislative vehicle for passing the new continuing resolution (CR), which was detailed late Monday.
“As Chairman, I remain committed to completing the work of the Appropriations Committee before the end of this Congress. Kicking the can farther down the road will only delay funding for programs the American people rely on while costing them more in the long run. Congress can and should do its job and complete the appropriations process before the end of the year,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement.
Ahead of Tuesday evening’s vote, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced he asked to pulled language from the CR he had proposed related to reforming the process for permitting new energy projects.
“It is unfortunate that members of the United States Senate are allowing politics to put the energy security of our nation at risk. The last several months, we have seen firsthand the destruction that is possible as [Russian President] Vladimir Putin continues to weaponize energy. A failed vote on something as critical as comprehensive permitting reform only serves to embolden leaders like Putin who wish to see America fail. For that reason and my firmly held belief that we should never come to the brink of a government shutdown over politics, I have asked Majority Leader [Chuck] Schumer (D-N.Y.) to remove the permitting language from the continuing resolution we will vote on this evening,” Manchin said in a statement.
The potential inclusion of Manchin’s permitting reform proposal in the CR had faced bipartisan pushback, to include opposition from Leahy as well as Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the Senate’s top Republican appropriator.
“We have made significant progress toward a continuing resolution that is as clean as possible. But, if the Democrats insist on including permitting reform, I will oppose it,” Shelby said in a statement ahead of Manchin’s decision. “Passing a clean CR will allow us to focus on completing the FY ‘23 appropriations process before the end of this year.”
Manchin’s permitting reform proposal was included in the originally planned legislative vehicle that may be used to pass the CR as part of a deal with Schumer to garner the West Virginia senator’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act passed last month.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the House’s top appropriator, said in a statement on the CR she was also “extremely disappointed” that permitting reform was attached to the stopgap funding bill while urging support for acting quickly to keep the government open.
The Ukraine supplemental funding included in the CR covers $3 billion for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) where equipment is procured from industry to support Kyiv’s military efforts as well as $3.7 billion in presidential drawdown authority for the transfer of equipment from existing Pentagon inventories.
Air Force Brig Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Tuesday there is about $2.3 billion remaining in current presidential drawdown authority that will expire at the end of September, while reiterating that USAI funds are two-year monies and won’t be affected by the end of the fiscal year.
“I would highlight that it’s not the end of the fiscal year yet, so there’s still time potentially to employ that [presidential drawdown] authorization,” Ryder said during a press briefing.
The Ukraine supplemental funding as part of the CR also includes $1.5 billion to help replenish stockpiles of equipment sent to Kyiv and $540 million to increase production of critical munitions.
The Pentagon recently provided a full breakdown of the more than $1 billion in replenishment contracts and $1.2 billion in USAI deals awarded to date (Defense Daily, Sept. 9).
The funding level in the CR for the Ukraine aid supplemental, which would be the third approved this year, largely matches the White House’s request detailed earlier this month (Defense Daily, Sept. 9).
The CR proposal also includes $2.8 billion for “continued military, intelligence, and other defense support” for DoD operations, according to a summary of the bill.
The House Appropriations Committee previously voted 32 to 26 in June to approve its $761.7 billion FY ‘23 spending bill for the Pentagon (Defense Daily, June 22).
In late July, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its plan to spend $850 million on defense-related programs in FY ‘23, to include $792.1 billion for the Pentagon (Defense Daily, July 28).