‘Won’t be interrupted': Joe Biden on aid to Ukraine as US averts shutdown
Russia-Ukraine War: Joe Biden has called upon Congress to pass separate funding for Ukraine, emphasising its importance in the ongoing conflict with Russia.
In a high-stakes situation, United States (US) President Joe Biden has reaffirmed his commitment to supporting Ukraine while the United States narrowly sidestepped a government shutdown on Saturday, CNN reported.
Biden has called upon Congress to pass separate funding for Ukraine, emphasising its importance in the ongoing conflict with Russia. This plea comes after a stopgap funding measure initially included aid for Ukraine but ultimately dropped it.
The President stressed the need for uninterrupted American support, stating, “While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support. We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted.”
While acknowledging bipartisan efforts to keep the government funded through November, Biden criticised House Republicans for creating what he termed a "manufactured crisis" that could have been avoided months ago.
The potential government shutdown was averted when the United States Senate passed a stopgap funding measure on Saturday evening within its deadline to prevent a federal government shutdown, reported CNN.
With 88 to 9 votes, the Senate passed the measure after the US House abruptly reversed course and passed a bipartisan bill to extend government funding hours before the deadline.
The stopgap bill was cleared by the chamber in an overwhelmingly bipartisan 335-91 vote hours after Speaker Kevin McCarthy rolled out the proposal, according to CNN.
However, one Democrat and 90 Republicans voted against the measure.
The House vote finally came after days of uncertainty over averting a government shutdown.
Following this, the bill now goes to President Joe Biden's desk for further approval, according to CNN.
Moreover, the bill would keep the government open through November 17, and further includes natural disaster aid but not additional funding for Ukraine or border security.
It also includes a measure to keep the Federal Aviation Administration operational.
A government shutdown happens when Congress does not approve discretionary spending for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1.
A shutdown affects nearly every corner of the US government, from the delivery of welfare cheques and publishing of national economic data to the operation of federal courts, museums and national parks.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers likely would be furloughed – temporarily forced to leave work without pay – while workers deemed essential would remain on the job but continue without a paycheque.
Reacting to the Senate passing the stopgap funding bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer praised his colleagues for passing the bill to fund the government, eventually averting a government shutdown until mid-November, as reported by CNN.
"It has been a day full of twists and turns, but the American people can breathe a sigh of relief: there will be no government shutdown tonight," he said.
Notably, this is not the first-ever government shutdown in the US. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, there have been as many as 14 government shutdowns in the US since 1980. The last shutdown took place in December 2018, when the government did not function for 35 days.