WASHINGTON — After funding to help Ukraine fight the Russian invasion was not included in the stopgap spending bill the House passed on Saturday, Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., the co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, cast the only Democratic “no” vote.
With only hours to spare to avoid a shutdown, the House measure sprinted to the Senate on a 335-91 roll call. The continuing resolution passed the GOP controlled House on the strength of Democratic votes. The bill, which funds federal government for 45 days, is likely to clear the Senate unless a last minute issue develops.
Democrats voted for the bill, 209-1, with Quigley the solo nay.
Though funding for Ukraine is a priority of the Biden White House, keeping the government open outweighed a shutdown over Ukraine, which has been a major sticking point. Ukraine funding can be revisited in the coming weeks. Biden is expected to sign the compromise stopgap measure if it gets to his desk.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., needed Democratic support to pass the stopgap measure because he could not muster it from his side. The funding bill got 126 Republican “yes” votes and 90 “no” votes. The three Illinois Republicans in the House, Mike Bost, Mary Miller and Darin LaHood, all voted no.
In a Sun-Times interview on Saturday morning, Quigley said there were funds in the very short-term to continue to help Ukraine, but that money could not be replenished once it is exhausted.
Quigley said in a statement: “This bill is a victory for Putin and Putin-sympathizers everywhere. We now have 45 days to correct this grave mistake. I had a responsibility to my constituents to voice my opposition to this decision and raise concerns now, before Russia-friendly Republicans dig in their heels or claim victory in the next funding agreement.
“The fight in Ukraine is our fight and anyone who tries to argue that a choice must be made between Ukraine and the American people is presenting a false dilemma. Protecting Ukraine is in our national interest.”
Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., voted for the bill even though it did not provide the Ukraine aid he said was needed.
Foster said in a statement, “This short-term funding agreement doesn’t fully address our current budget impasse, and it doesn’t include much-needed aid for Ukraine as it continues to defend itself from Putin’s unjust invasion, but it is vital that we keep the federal government open and able to serve the American people.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a yes vote, said in a statement, “While this bill is not perfect, I could not let our government shut down. I would have liked to see funding for Ukraine included. There is still broad bipartisan support for continuing our assistance to Ukraine. We will never turn our backs on them. We will get Ukraine the support they need.”