U.S. Congress reaches agreement for Ukraine aid, government funding bill

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FILE PHOTO: A view of the U.S. Capitol building as the sunrises in Washington

– U.S. congressional leaders reached a bipartisan agreement early on Wednesday to allocate $13.6 billion in emergency aid for Ukraine and provide $15.6 billion to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The sweeping legislation will provide $1.5 trillion for defense and non-defense discretionary spending and fund the federal government through Sept. 30.

“We can’t stay away from the TV and watching what is happening in Ukraine … and this bill responds to Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression (and) vicious invasion of Ukraine,” Rosa DeLauro, the House Appropriations Committee chair, said in a statement.

Congress faces a midnight Friday deadline to pass the legislation.

House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters earlier on Tuesday that his chamber is aiming to debate and pass legislation on Wednesday.

But he left open the possibility of a short-term stop-gap bill being needed if legislation providing full government funding is not completed in time.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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