WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – The clock is ticking as a government shutdown once again looms over lawmakers. This time they are looking at including aid money for Ukraine in their funding package.
Congress needs to pass the funding bill by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
President Joe Biden wants them to include $10 billion in aid for Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that money will help Ukraine in a variety of ways.
“That $10 billion, which I believe Congress will provide very quickly, will go to additional security assistance for Ukraine. It will go to humanitarian assistance,” Blinken said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are both on board with that plan.
“The omnibus is the quickest, most efficient way to get this done,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said.
Not only are lawmakers racing against the clock, there’s also some disagreement about whether the aid should be tied to the omnibus bill at all.
On Twitter Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote that Sen. Schumer is “holding the Ukraine aid hostage” by including it in the budget bill. He wants aid for the country dealt with separately and passed immediately.
Sen. Mark Warner says he thinks putting the aid in the funding package makes sense.
“We need to stand with the people of Ukraine. We need to give them this aid. And at the same time, we need to do our job and keep the federal government of the United States working as well,” the Virginia Democrat said.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says he’s for linking them too.
“I think it might help it get passed,” Grassley said.
With the attack on Ukraine intensifying and the shutdown deadline looming, there’s growing pressure to get it done soon.
“The overwhelming majority of us in both parties want to fund the government for the balance of the year. We want to support Ukraine,” Warner said.