WASHINGTON (AFP): President Joe Biden on Thursday signed off on a $1.7 trillion spending bill that will keep the US government funded through the next fiscal year — notably including another big package for Ukraine’s war effort.
Biden, vacationing over the New Year’s holiday on Saint Croix in the US Virgin Islands, tweeted a picture of himself signing the bill into law.
“It’ll invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery” and funding for programs combating violence against women, Biden tweeted. It also “gets crucial assistance to Ukraine. Looking forward to more in 2023.”
The funding bill won Republican support in the evenly divided Congress, ensuring easy passage — and notching up another legislative win for Biden as he ends his second year in office. Even critics have expressed grudging admiration for the Biden administration’s ability to get results as the 80-year-old Democrat closes in on a decision over whether to seek another term in 2024.
The bill includes $45 billion in emergency military and economic aid for Ukraine, which is battling a full-scale Russian invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was in Washington earlier this month to plead for increased US assistance.
The bill also features add-ons, such as a reform tightening a 19th century law to make clear that vice presidents do not have power to overturn election results. That is intended to prevent any repetition of Donald Trump’s chaotic gambit to avoid conceding defeat to Biden in the 2020 presidential election — including by trying to coerce his vice president, Mike Pence, to halt certification of Biden’s win.