Negotiators Try to Complete Omnibus Spending Bill With Ukraine, Covid-19 Aid


WASHINGTON—House Democratic leaders said they plan to hold a vote Wednesday on a bill to fund the federal government for the full fiscal year and send further military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, even as talks on some key issues have yet to be completed.

Democratic lawmakers were adamant that they weren’t going to punt again, after extending government funding several times through stopgap spending bills. Sending aid to Ukraine as the civilian toll of the Russian invasion mounted pushed lawmakers to work together to pass the omnibus legislation.

“The Ukranians lack food, they lack clothing, they lack shelter, electricity, medicines. We must get them these things,” Senate Majority Leader

Chuck Schumer

(D., N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday.

Negotiators still haven’t disclosed the total cost of the legislation. Tuesday night, aides said they were just finishing details on what additional legislation would be included in the large bill. Since the spending legislation is a must-pass bill, often lawmakers lobby to include other bills. The current funding resolution runs out at 12:01 Saturday morning.

The omnibus legislation would set spending levels for defense and nondefense spending for fiscal 2022. If Democrats and Republicans don’t reach a deal, the government would partially shut down, although Social Security and other payments would keep flowing.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat.


J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

Senate leaders said the bill would include between $12 billion and $14 billion for Ukraine. Part of that aid could be used to fund send planes to Poland, said Mr. McConnell. Poland said Tuesday that it would make its MiG-29 combat jets available to the U.S. after days of talks about how to get such planes into the hands of Ukraine. In return, Poland wants U.S.-made planes to replace them, but the U.S. had no immediate response to the offer.

House Majority Leader

Steny Hoyer

(D., Md.) cautioned that the vote may go down to the wire, and that the House may have to resort to passing another short-term funding bill, known as a continuing resolution, or CR.

“We may have to come back on Friday…to vote on legislation, either that the Senate sends us back or that we have to initiate on a short-term CR. We have no intention of shutting down the government,” he said.

Mr. Schumer said that the bill would also provide $15 billion to respond to the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic, including to order pediatric vaccines, oral antivirals, and monoclonal antibodies that are either running out or are projected to be in short supply without new funding.

From 2020 through 2021, Congress passed three major bills aimed at developing vaccines and responding to the economic impact of the pandemic. Combined with additional expenditures, the legislature approved about $5.8 trillion in coronavirus spending, according to estimates from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

“We’ve had discussions over the weekend with Democratic leadership, and I’m convinced that the additional Covid relief money can all come from repurposed Covid funds from the past,” Sen.

Mitt Romney

(R., Utah) said on Monday night. “I think we’re making good progress in the discussions.”

Sen. Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida.


Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg News

Aides and lawmakers said that the details of the legislation have been closely held by leadership, leaving most of Congress without visibility into the complete contents of the bill. That alone threatens to cost support from some Republicans.

“Congress has cut corners by passing massive ‘omnibus’ spending bills with little time to review or digest the spending and policy, let alone determine how much spending will impact our nation’s financial and economic wellbeing,” Sen.

Rick Scott

(R., Fla.) and some colleagues wrote last week to Mr. Schumer. “This must end.”

One of the big sticking points has been over the White House request for $22.5 billion in additional funding to focus on developing new medicines and distributing new and existing vaccines. In the 50-50 Senate, many Republicans have demanded proof that the money is needed and have also insisted that the expenditures be financed by repurposing money that remains unspent after prior rounds of stimulus and rescue funding.

Write to Siobhan Hughes at and Natalie Andrews at

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