WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden signed a sweeping federal government spending bill that includes $13.6 billion in additional funding to assist Ukraine as it defends against Russia’s military operation.
The $1.5 trillion omnibus bill had been passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier. The package includes a broad range of spending boosts, including an estimated 6% increase for defense.
It omits, however, more than $20 billion requested by the White House to pay for additional coronavirus vaccines, including boosters and shots to address potential new variants, as well as virus treatment.
“We have made tremendous progress in our fight against COVID-19 but our work isn’t done,” Biden said on Twitter. “We need Congress to immediately provide $22.5 billion in emergency funding to sustain our nation’s COVID-19 response.”
The $13.6 billion earmarked for Ukraine includes funding for military and humanitarian assistance to aid the country as it fights Russian forces. It also supplies Kyiv with direct economic assistance.