Factbox-U.S. approves Ukraine aid, boosts military and domestic spending

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building is pictured in Washington
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Capitol building is pictured in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

March 11, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congress approved $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine on Thursday as part of a $1.5 trillion spending bill that funds U.S. government operations through Sept. 30. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law on Friday.

Here is a summary of the 2,700-page bill:

UKRAINE AID

The bill includes $13.6 billion for ammunition and other military supplies for Ukraine to fight the invasion by Russia, as well as humanitarian support.

NO COVID AID

The legislation does not include $15.6 billion requested by Biden to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as his fellow Democrats could not agree on how it would be distributed. Democrats are expected to continue efforts to approve this aid, which would be used for research and vaccine stockpiles.

INFRASTRUCTURE MONEY

The package includes spending increases for roads, bridges and other elements of Biden’s signature $1 trillion infrastructure package. Congress approved the package back in November 2021, but much of the money could not actually go out the door until the broader spending bill was passed.

U.S. MILITARY

The bill increases U.S. defense spending to $782 billion, a 5.6% increase over current levels.

DOMESTIC SPENDING

The bill boosts spending on nondefense programs by 6.7% to $730 billion. It includes substantial increases for scientific research into climate change and diseases like cancer and diabetes, as well as antipoverty food and housing programs.

It also includes the largest increases in more than a decade for college tuition and aid to schools that serve low-income children, according to Democrats.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

The bill also includes a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which provides services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

VISA REFORM

The legislation resurrects the EB-5 visa program, which provides residency permits to foreigners who invest in high-poverty areas. The program expired last year amid concerns about fraud. It now includes reforms meant to prevent abuses.

(Reporting by Andy Sullivan; editing by Jonathan Oatis)