Senate GOP, Democrats Plan to Pass Continuing Resolution with Scant Ukraine Funding, Say Sources 

Legislators in the upper chamber are ramping up for a cloture vote measure Tuesday evening to extend government funding and end negotiations past the September 30 deadline with a “clean” continuing resolution (CR).

However, sources indicate that the measure — yet to be revealed — might not allocate significant resources toward aid for Ukraine and disaster relief. 

Locking arms across the aisle, both GOP Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, want to prevent a government shutdown that is approaching quickly if a funding patch isn’t agreed to by September 30. Senators have already lost one business day because of the Monday Yom Kippur recess.

“We now have four days to go until funding expires on Saturday at midnight, we are now right at the precipice,” said Schumer Tuesday on the floor of the Senate. “Over the weekend, Senate Democrats and Republicans together worked in good faith to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution that will keep the government open beyond September 30. We are very close to finishing our work and hope to release text very soon.”

Senator Schumer called the CR “a bridge towards cooperation and away from extremism” while McConnell said, “colleagues in both chambers are rightly concerned about a number of distinct priorities and are focused on taking further action to rein in reckless spending as we continue to rebuild our national defense.”

“They’re concerned about addressing the consequences of the bad administration’s failure to secure our southern border,” said McConnell of the House. “We are eager to provide relief to communities recovering from natural disasters from Hawaii to Florida, and bipartisan majorities recognize the ongoing need to counter Russia and China and continue to provide lethal aid to Ukraine.”

However, the CR, a temporary protocol used by Congress to fund the federal government when regular appropriations processes haven’t been completed by the end of the fiscal year, could leave out most of President Joe Biden’s $24 billion aid request to Ukraine, according to a Senate aide close to the matter.

On Tuesday, the aide said that “reports about a small amount of Ukraine money is true, but it’s nowhere near the full package amount.”

“Goal here is to keep the government open while House and Senate move through the appropriations process,” said the aide.

According to the source, the cloture vote is just “one step of many” in the process, and text for the bill is due either late Tuesday or early Wednesday, said the source.

Several GOP senators confirm they are ready to slash the large budget for Ukraine

Several Republican senators have signaled they’re prepared to cut the large budget for Ukraine aid, including GOP Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who sits on the Committee on Foreign Relations.

“I will oppose any effort to hold the federal government hostage for Ukraine funding. I will not consent to expedited passage of any spending measure that provides any more U.S. aid to Ukraine,” threatened Paul on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Disaster relief remains another point of contention as some Senate Democrats want to lump in disaster relief with President Biden’s emergency funding request, which includes Ukraine aid and funds for firefighters, instead of voting on each bill one-by-one. Conservatives in the chamber, including GOP Senator Rick Scott of Florida, are in favor of singling out the packages.

Tuesday, Scott demanded passage of his Federal Disaster Responsibility Act, which would replenish the budget of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Last week, Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island blocked the request from Scott on the Senate floor for a vote on the bill because it didn’t include aid for Ukraine.

“I’ve heard rumors that the continuing resolution will have $20 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund,” said Scott in a Tuesday statement. “That’s why my bill would authorize additional funding — on top of whatever funding for families in Florida, California, Hawaii and other states recently impacted by disasters, as well as block grants for American farmers.”

In order for cloture to pass, it will require support from 60 senators. The vote is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EST.

In the meantime, the House is also expected to vote on a short-term spending bill quickly after holding a crucial vote to proceed with four yearlong appropriations bills on Tuesday night, with border security leading the discussion.

“The Republicans will put on the floor a move to secure our border. I think that’s the appropriate way to be able to keep government funded, secure border while we continue to keep government open to work on the rest of the appropriations process,” Speaker McCarthy told reporters Tuesday morning.