In a surprising move less than a week before a potential government shutdown, newly appointed Speaker of the US House, Mike Johnson, introduced a two-stage funding bill for government programs. Notably, the proposal excludes funding for Kyiv, as outlined in the document.
The Two-Stage Funding Plan
According to the proposed bill, a portion of government programs, including those related to transportation, energy, and military construction, will be funded until January 19.
Funding for other government sectors will be calculated until February 2. Notably, Johnson’s plan does not include support for Israel or Ukraine.
Congressional Vote on the Horizon
Fox News reports that the House is set to vote on the bill on Tuesday. The White House spokesperson, Karine Jean-Pierre, dismissed Johnson’s initiative as “an unserious proposal” and a “recipe for even more chaos.” She urged Republicans to cease political disagreements and focus on preventing a government shutdown.
Echoes of a Previous Funding Crisis
In October, President Joe Biden’s request to Congress for $24 billion in aid to Kyiv almost led to a government shutdown. The refusal of Republican lawmakers to approve a budget that included funds for Ukraine was the primary cause.
The result was a temporary budget passed without support for Kyiv. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy lost his position as some Republicans believed he had struck a secret deal with the Biden administration regarding Ukraine’s funds.
Washington’s Fiscal Dilemma
As of now, Washington lacks fresh funds for Kyiv, and the previously approved funds will only suffice for the short term. President Biden has sought $106 billion for these purposes, but there is no unanimous support for the request in Congress. Biden has stated that he will not sign a bill allocating aid solely to Israel without Ukraine if approved by Congress.
The introduction of Mike Johnson’s funding proposal adds a new layer of complexity to the ongoing fiscal discussions in Washington. The specter of a government shutdown looms, and the lack of consensus on aid for Ukraine further complicates matters. As the House prepares to vote, the nation watches closely, hoping for a resolution that averts chaos and ensures stable government funding.