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Ukraine aid cut from GOP-backed stopgap funding bill

The legislation, which is aimed at preventing a November 17 government shutdown, is not backed by the

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks during a news conference in the Rayburn Room of the US Capitol on November 7, 2023 in Washington, DC. ©  Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Republican US House Speaker Mike Johnson has unveiled a new stopgap spending bill to avert a government shutdown that does not include funding for aid to or Israel. Johnson had earlier insisted that the issue of assisting Kiev should be discussed separately, with many other Republicans reluctant to continue aiding the embattled country.

The two-step temporary spending proposal, also known as a continuing resolution, was rolled out on Saturday. It would extend funding for some government agencies until January 19 and for some others until February 2. The plan came out just a week before a looming shutdown deadline on November 17 that could leave many US civilian workers and military personnel without pay.

Johnson remarked that the stop gap measure would “place House Republicans in the best position to fight for conservative victories” and “stop the absurd holiday-season omnibus tradition of massive, loaded up spending bills introduced right before the Christmas recess.”

He also argued that separating the bill from the supplemental funding debates puts the GOP “in the best position to fight for fiscal responsibility, oversight over Ukraine aid, and meaningful policy changes at our southern border.”

Read more Ukraine aid drying up – White House

The White House, however, was quick to dismiss the proposal as “extreme,” with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre describing it as “a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns.”

Last month, the administration of US President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve a massive $106 billion assistance package for Ukraine and Israel that also would have provided money for the southern US border. However, the GOP opposed the measure, with Johnson signaling that his party wanted to “bifurcate” the issues of Israel and Ukraine.

In this vein, the GOP-controlled House earlier this month passed a stand-alone $14.3 billion bill to help Israel in the fight against the Palestinian armed group Hamas, but it was later blocked by Democrats in the Senate.

Many Republicans have long been critical of providing assistance to Ukraine, rebuking President Joe Biden over what they believe is a lack of clear strategic goals and accountability. The US leader has consistently said that Washington intends to support Kiev in its fight against Moscow for “as long as it takes.”

Meanwhile, the White House has recently warned that money in existing programs for Ukraine is running out, while urging Congress to approve new funding to send “an important message” to the world.

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