Congressional negotiators struck a deal on a nearly $40 billion legislative plan aimed at delivering additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, which could be brought to the House floor as soon as Tuesday.
The additional money has been detached from supplemental pandemic funds, making the bill easier to pass swiftly through both chambers. Top Republicans previously stated that they would try to block the bill if the two priorities were linked.
The $39.8 billion provided for in the deal is an increase over the Biden administration’s initial request of $33 billion as Ukraine fights back against Russia.
While President Joe Biden has pushed for Congress to pass both Ukraine aid and $10 billion in additional COVID-19 relief, he expressed support for uncoupling the issues in hopes of speeding up the process of providing resources to the war-ravaged country.
“Previously, I had recommended that Congress take overdue action on much-needed funding for COVID treatments, vaccines, and tests as part of the Ukraine supplemental bill. However, I have been informed by congressional leaders in both parties that such an addition would slow down action on the urgently needed Ukrainian aid — a view expressed strongly by several congressional Republicans,” he said in a statement Monday.
“We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort,” he said. “Hence, I am prepared to accept that these two measures move separately so that the Ukrainian aid bill can get to my desk right away.”
The time frame for when the pandemic relief funding will come to the floor remains unclear.