The House passed legislation Tuesday night that would provide $40 billion in new aid to Ukraine as the Biden administration looks to step up U.S. support for Kyiv in its war against Russia.
The House voted 368-57 after President Joe Biden urged quick congressional action and Republicans balked at passing an additional $10 billion in Covid relief funds alongside the military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.
All 57 no votes came from Republicans.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., who opposed the measure, tweeted: “I oppose Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but we can’t help Ukraine by spending money we don’t have.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised the largely bipartisan vote, saying on Twitter that the package would build “on robust support already secured by Congress” and “help Ukraine defend not only its nation but democracy for the world.”
The supplemental funding measure now heads to the Senate. GOP leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he asked Biden last week to separate the coronavirus aid from the Ukraine funding.
“I had a chance to call the president last week and request that the Ukraine package move by itself and quickly,” McConnell, R-Ky., said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon. “I think we’re on the path to getting that done.”
Biden told Congress on Monday to pass the Ukraine aid without the Covid relief funding. His decision to decouple the two spending packages is likely to make it harder to pass the Covid relief, which the administration has said is needed to continue to provide widespread testing and free vaccinations.
Asked Tuesday about the jammed-up Covid aid, McConnell said it should be discussed in tandem with the administration’s effort to lift immigration restrictions, known as Title 42, that former President Donald Trump imposed in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
Some Democrats have pushed for allowing Title 42 to expire, which would allow more migrants into the country. Republicans, while pushing for other Covid-related restrictions to be relaxed, have remained steadfast in insisting that the immigration rules remain.
“It’s something we’re going to continue to discuss, and as you know there’s a broad bipartisan demand for continuing Title 42, and I think that’s the context in which that vote ought to occur,” McConnell said.
The Senate has not scheduled a vote on the Ukraine package. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted earlier Tuesday that the chamber “will move swiftly to pass emergency funding and send it” to Biden’s desk.