The US Congress has approved the budget proposed by President Biden. Almost 45 billion US dollars are planned as an additional aid for Ukraine. The Republicans speak of an unfair burden sharing.
Shortly before the deadline, the US Congress approved the budget for the current fiscal year. Almost half of the total is earmarked for defense spending. The entire budget for the fiscal year that has been running since October 1st is almost 1.7 trillion US dollars, i.e. the equivalent of around 1.6 trillion euros.
In the vote in Congress, the Democrats were able to push through the more than 4,000-page draft for the state budget with the help of 18 votes from the ranks of the Republicans. Now only the signature of US President Joe Biden is missing for the budget to come into force. Then the budget is secured until September 30 of the coming year.
More billions for Ukraine
Defense spending accounts for around half of the budget, at just under 858 billion US dollars. The budget for the past fiscal year included 740 billion US dollars for the defense sector.
This also includes 45 billion US dollars, which are to be paid to Ukraine as financial aid. The budget thus provides slightly more support for Ukraine than Biden originally requested from Congress. Around nine billion dollars are earmarked for military aid and almost 16 billion dollars for economic and humanitarian aid for the attacked country.
In addition, twelve billion dollars are planned to replenish the US military’s ammunition stocks and stores after deliveries to Ukraine. Another seven billion dollars are noted for additional expenditures by US troops in Europe.
Only on Wednesday did Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urge the US Congress for more comprehensive support from the United States during his first foreign visit to his country since the beginning of the war.
“$1.7 trillion full of junk”
Republicans have already criticized the budget. Rep. Tim Burchett called it “$1.7 trillion full of junk.” The annual budget of the Democratic US government would not take into account the costs that would be imposed on US citizens. The planned billions in aid for Ukraine also give Republicans cause for criticism. They demand that Europe must provide more financial support for Ukraine. Republicans take power in the Chamber of Congress in January.
Deadline extended – “Shutdown” Threatened
The new budget finances government business until September next year. Congress must meet a deadline when passing it, otherwise, there is a risk of a so-called shutdown – and the government will become insolvent. Then, for example, civil servants must be forced to take leave or work temporarily without pay. Negotiations often last until the last minute. In this case, the deadline for the new budget would actually have expired last week. However, this was extended by a week through the adoption of an interim budget.