A massive spending bill signed into law by President Joe Biden Tuesday provides for a one-time $13.6 billion infusion of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as it fights back against Russia’s invasion.
The amount of money the legislation includes for Ukraine increased during last-minute negotiations, growing from the $10 billion the White House had asked for earlier in the month.
The Ukraine aid is attached to an appropriations law that sets spending limits for the federal government for fiscal year 2022, which started in October. Lawmakers have haggled over the full-year appropriations bill for months and have passed three stopgap funding bills to keep the government operating in the meantime.
The text of the 2,741-page bill was released last week and Congress passed the legislation before a Friday deadline, avoiding a government shutdown.
How the Ukraine aid will be spent
Here’s how some of the $13.6 billion in aid for Ukraine is expected to be spent:
About $6.5 billion, roughly half of the aid package, will go to the US Department of Defense so it can deploy troops to the region and send defense equipment to Ukraine, according to a summary of the bill provided by the House Appropriations Committee.
The US has deployed thousands of troops throughout Europe, both before and during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But putting troops on the ground in Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, is a line that the US and its Western allies have not been willing to cross.
More than $4 billion will provide humanitarian support for refugees fleeing Ukraine and people displaced within Ukraine, as well as provide emergency food assistance, health care and urgent support for vulnerable communities inside the region, according to a fact sheet provided by the House Appropriations Committee.
The package will provide nearly $1.8 billion to help respond to the economic needs in Ukraine and neighboring countries, such as cybersecurity and energy issues.
The law also calls for $25 million for the US Agency for Global Media, an independent federal agency, to combat disinformation in news broadcasts abroad. Another $120 million will help support local Ukraine activists and journalists and promote accountability for Russian human rights violations.
Previous aid for Ukraine
The US has supported Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s aggression for years, increasing aid after Russia invaded the eastern part of the country and occupied Crimea in 2014.
Since then, the US has committed more than $5.6 billion in total assistance to Ukraine, including security and non-security assistance, according to the US State Department.
In 2021 alone, the US provided more than $300 million in assistance to support Ukraine’s democratic and economic development, and more than $650 million in security assistance. About $200 million of that was authorized in December as the tensions escalated.
Days after Russia invaded Ukraine last month, the US State Department announced it was sending nearly $54 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Over the weekend, the White House directed another $200 million for defense services, including military education and training.
Former President Donald Trump temporarily withheld nearly $400 million in security aid to Ukraine in 2019, during what became an infamous phone call in which he urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden. Zelensky didn’t agree to dig up dirt on the presidential candidate, and that phone call led to Trump’s first impeachment.
What else is tied to the spending package?
The massive spending package, known as the omnibus, funds the federal government for fiscal year 2022.
It calls for $730 billion in non-defense funding – a 6.7% increase over fiscal year 2021 – the largest jump in four years, according to the House Appropriations Committee. It also provides $782 billion in defense funding, a 5.6% increase over fiscal year 2021.
The initial bill text included $15.6 billion to fund the government’s ongoing Covid-19 response efforts, including research and development of treatments and vaccines.
But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said later that the funding for the government’s Covid-19 response would be stripped from the bill. Republicans had pushed for the money to be offset by previously approved Covid-19 relief funds that had yet to be used, but many Democrats raised objections about the way those offsets were structured.
This story has been updated with additional information.