Congress averts government shutdown, leaving Kevin McCarthy in speakership fight

President Joe Biden delivers remarks from the White House in Washington, DC, on October 1.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks from the White House in Washington, DC, on October 1. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden called on Republicans to keep their word about support for Ukraine during remarks from the White House Sunday, after signing a short-term spending bill that avoided a government shutdown but did not include new aid for the country.

“There’s no Ukraine funding in this agreement,” Biden said. “Despite that, I did not believe we could let millions of Americans go through the pain of a government shutdown.”

The president said he would hold Republicans accountable to their previous signals of support for Ukraine.

“But let’s be clear. I hope my friends on the other side keep their word about support for Ukraine. They said they were going to support Ukraine in a separate vote,” the president said. “We cannot, under any circumstances, allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” he said.

Biden said he fully expects House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to “keep his commitment to secure the passage and support needed to help Ukraine as they defend themselves against aggression and brutality.”

Biden said there is broad bipartisan support for Ukraine’s war effort. “Let’s vote on it,” he said.

“I want to assure our American allies and the American people and the people of Ukraine that you can count on our support. We will not walk away,” he said.

Some context: Original drafts of a spending bill to avert the shutdown included aid for Ukraine, but the funds were ultimately removed over concerns the measure could not pass over the objections of some conservatives.

Bipartisan members of Senate leadership released a joint statement Saturday committing to vote on further funding for Ukraine aid “in the coming weeks.” Congress will need to negotiate another funding bill by mid-November.

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