Lawmakers are racing to finalize and pass a massive government funding bill that would also greenlight billions in new aid tied to Ukraine.
Congress has to pass a sweeping bill, which would fund the government through the end of September, and President BidenJoe BidenArmed intruder arrested at Joint Base Andrews after Harris’ returnCapitol Police issues emergency declaration over trucker convoyHarris in Selma: ‘We will not let setbacks stop us’MORE has to sign it before the end of Friday in order to prevent a government shutdown.
Lawmakers and aides have also questioned if they could need a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which would fund the government at current levels, to buy themselves more time as they wrap up the sweeping bill.
“We’d have to make great strides between now and say Monday, Tuesday at the latest, to do this,” Sen. Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyUkraine crisis adds pressure to spending talks’Urgent’ COVID-19 funding hangs in balance amid partisan fight Powell: ‘Overheated’ job market can withstand rate hikesMORE (R-Ala.) said late last week about how to avoid CR.
The government funding bill is tied to the status of roughly $10 billion in aid in response to Russias invasion of Ukraine because lawmakers are expected to attach the money to the larger legislation to help speed up its path through Congress and to Bidens desk.
The Biden Administration has requested $10 billion in humanitarian, military and economic support for Ukraine. The Congress intends to enact this emergency funding this week as part of our omnibus government funding legislation, House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBarr says no evidence that Trump was ‘legally responsible’ for Jan. 6 attackHouse working on bill to ban Russian oil importsBlinken: ‘Active discussion’ ongoing on banning import of Russian oilMORE (D-Calif.) wrote in a Dear Colleague letter on Sunday night.
The Biden administrations request includes $4.8 billion for the Pentagon to support U.S. troop deployments to NATO countries and to provide additional military equipment to Ukraine. It is also asking for $5 billion for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for security, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and allies on NATOs eastern flank.
Lawmakers havent yet unveiled the government funding bill. The House is scheduled to leave town for the week after Wednesday giving them just a matter of days to pass the yet-to-be-introduced legislation.
Key appropriators said late last week that they were making progress on some of the unresolved issues in the funding legislation, including how to deal with the U.S.-Mexico border wall and funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention beds.
We’ve made progress in the last 24 hours. We were stuck for a little while, but we’ve been trading some constructive paper in the last 24 hours … I’m hopeful that we will not be the sticking point, said Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyUS officials, lawmakers debate no-fly zone over UkraineSunday shows – Ukraine no-fly zone discussions dominateMurphy calls for replacing Russian oil with renewable energy in case of potential banMORE (D-Conn.), the chairman of the Senate Appropriations’ homeland security subcommittee.
Even if lawmakers are able to unveil a quick deal on the funding bill, they are close enough to the Friday night deadline that theyll need cooperation from all 100 senators in order to speed up the legislation.
A group of conservatives are demanding a vote on defunding Bidens vaccine mandates in exchange for speeding up any government funding legislation. The group made similar demands on the previous stop-gap bills passed by Congress and were able to get amendment votes, which failed.
We are writing to let you know that we will once again not consent to a time agreement that eases passage of a CR or Omnibus that funds these mandates, the group, led by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOn The Money Job growth booms in FebruaryOvernight Defense & National Security: Attack on Ukraine nuclear plant rattles WashingtonSenate conservatives threaten to hold up government funding over vaccine mandateMORE (R-Utah), wrote.
At the very least, we will require a roll call vote on an amendment that defunds the enforcement of these vaccine mandates for the spending period covered by the government funding measure, they added.
Russia oil ban
Momentum is growing on Capitol Hill for legislation to ban the import of Russian oil in response to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinKristen Stewart pays tribute to Ukraine at independent film awardsRussia looks to recruit Syrians into Ukraine war: reportRussians search for BBC, outside news outlets amid Putin crackdownMOREs invasion of Ukraine.
The administration has been cool to the idea, though White House Press Secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiHouse working on bill to ban Russian oil importsNikki Haley: ‘I’m not in favor of a no-fly zone’ over Ukraine ‘right now’Manchin calls for keeping no-fly zone as one option to help Ukraine MORE said late last week that they were exploring ways to reduce Russia oil imports.
Part of the concern is that a ban would drive up prices for American consumers, who have already seen a bump in gas prices since the start of Russias invasion of Ukraine. But banning the import of Russian oil has bipartisan, bicameral backing on Capitol Hill.
Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinHouse working on bill to ban Russian oil importsBlack Chambers endorses Jackson for Supreme CourtNo. 2 Senate Democrat backs bill banning Russian oil importsMORE (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, signed onto legislation over the weekend from Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinHouse working on bill to ban Russian oil importsHarris in Selma: ‘We will not let setbacks stop us’US officials, lawmakers debate no-fly zone over UkraineMORE (D-W.Va.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHouse working on bill to ban Russian oil importsHarris says Ketanji Brown Jackson ‘stands on the shoulders of giants’Black Chambers endorses Jackson for Supreme CourtMORE (R-Alaska).
The Ban Russian Energy Imports Act would declare a national emergency with respect to Russian aggression and immediately prohibit the import of Russian energy products. This bipartisan bill shows the U.S. Senates commitment to stand behind the brave Ukrainian people.
Pelosi, in her Dear Colleague letter, said that the House is exploring strong legislation that will further isolate Russia from the global economy.
Our bill would ban the import of Russian oil and energy products into the United States, repeal normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, and take the first step to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization. We would also empower the Executive branch to raise tariffs on Russian imports, she added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged lawmakers during a Zoom meeting over the weekend to stop buying Russian oil. He also asked for more military equipment and for the United States and NATO allies to implement a no-fly zone. Though the United States has been sending military equipment to Ukraine, the Biden administration and members of Congress in both parties have rejected calls to establish a no-fly zone.
A no-fly zone would be to prevent Russia from entering Ukrainian airspace. But to enforce it, U.S. or European forces would have to shoot down Russian planes, which members of Congress have warned would bring two nuclear countries into direct conflict and risk a wider war in Europe.
Supreme Court nomination
Bidens Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown JacksonKetanji Brown JacksonSunday shows – Ukraine no-fly zone discussions dominateBlack Chambers endorses Jackson for Supreme Court GOP Sen. Rick Scott signals he is willing to consider voting for JacksonMORE, will keep meeting with key senators this week ahead of her appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee later this month.
Jackson met with several senators last week, including Schumer, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRussia and the RepublicansTrump jokes US should ‘put the Chinese flag’ on F-22 fighter jets and ‘bomb the s—‘ out of Russia: reportThe Memo: GOP can’t settle on Ukraine messageMORE (R-Ky.) and key members of the Judiciary Committee.
Shes expected to meet Tuesday with Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsHarris says Ketanji Brown Jackson ‘stands on the shoulders of giants’Russia and the RepublicansBlack Chambers endorses Jackson for Supreme CourtMORE (R-Maine), a key swing vote. Collins was one of three GOP senators who voted for Jackson last year for her spot on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, viewed as the second most powerful court in the country behind the Supreme Court.
But Collins has warned that her previous yes vote doesnt guarantee that shell vote for Jackson.
In addition to Collins, Jackson is scheduled to meet with members of the Judiciary Committee including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynThe Hill’s Morning Report – Russia’s war against Ukraine grinds onSupreme Court pick launches a cross-aisle charm offensiveDemocrats look for offramp from masking in publicMORE (R-Texas), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseTwo GOP senators share photos from Zoom call with Zelensky despite requests not toThe Hill’s Morning Report – Russia-Ukraine war enters second deadly weekDemocrats look for offramp from masking in publicMORE (D-R.I.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko Hirono4 people killed in helicopter crash at Hawaii missile rangeManchin: White House acknowledges inflation is major concernBiden to meet with Senate Judiciary Democrats on Supreme Court vacancyMORE (D-Hawaii).
The Senate is expected to continue working on legislation to overhaul the United States Postal Service this week, after advancing the legislation after an initial hurdle last week.
The bill, which has already passed the House, eliminates a requirement that the Postal Service prepay future retirement health benefits and allows the Postal Service to provide non-postal services as part of an agreement with state and local governments. It also requires that the Postal Service make deliveries six days of the week.