US Congress passes budget bill with $45 billion for Ukraine

The US Congress adopted on Friday a vast budget bill for federal services, totaling 1.7 trillion dollars, including 45 for theUkraine. After that of the Senate on Thursday, this vote by 225 votes against 201 of the House of Representatives makes it possible to avoid the paralysis of the American federal administration (the famous “shutdown”), which could have intervened on Friday evening. President Joe Biden has yet to enact the law with his signature.

“This bill is good for our economy, our competitiveness and our people – and I will sign it as soon as it is on my desk,” he said in a statement on Friday. “This bill is an essential piece of legislation not only to finance the state, to pay our civil servants, but also to show that the American state works”, declared before the vote the leader of the elected Democrats in the House, Steny Hoyer. This budget must finance the functioning of the American federal state – law enforcement, diplomacy, armed forces, economic policy, etc. – until September 2023.

Donald Trump parle d'”abomination”

It also includes an amendment to a law dating from the 19th century to mention that the American vice-president cannot intervene directly in the certification of electoral results. Donald Trump had used the ambiguities of the old text to suggest that Mike Pence, his vice-president, could have stopped the coming to power of Joe Biden after a victory that the incumbent Republican did not want to recognize – one of the elements that led to the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Donald Trump, again a candidate for 2024, on Thursday described the text as “abomination”, blaming it on the “far left”, the elites of the capital and the lobbies. With a Democratic majority in the House for a few more days, and two days after a visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warmly welcomed by the vast majority of parliamentarians, the positive outcome of the passage of the text left little doubt.

Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the Republicans in the House, had however called on the elected representatives of his camp to vote against the bill, in order to benefit from greater leeway when the holidays returned, when the new Republican majority in the Chamber, resulting from the midterm elections, will take office. But Republican senators largely ignored it on Thursday afternoon, giving Democrats nearly 20 votes to pass the text 68 to 29 before the House adopted it on Friday.

The season of “pocket filling”

Before the vote, elected Republicans in the House of Representatives took the floor to denounce the lack of time granted to them to study the text – it was finalized three days ago – and to criticize the presence of provisions qualified as “woke”, such as the financing of projects in support of the LGBT+ community. But Kevin McCarthy did not renew his performance of last year, when he held the microphone for eight and a half hours to postpone the vote – each hoping to reach his family in time for the holidays by avoiding the winter storm that hit the country.

“We are two days away from Christmas,” he said. “The holiday season is the season of giving, but in Congress it seems to be the season of pocket-filling for Democratic allies and baton-making for hard-working Americans.” Nancy Pelosi, the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, for her part welcomed the funding of “another substantial series of security, economic and humanitarian aid” for Ukraine. “And it’s really not – as the President of Ukraine said the other night – about charity. It’s about security, it’s about working together,” she said. said.

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