The US House passed a $1.5 trillion spending bill which will keep the government funded until September.
The nearly 3,000-page bill passed with bipartisan support in the House, and will now make its way to the Senate.
Shalanda Young, White House Acting Budget Director, praised the bipartisan nature of the bill in a statement on Thursday, “The bipartisan funding bill is proof that both parties can come together to deliver for the American people and advance critical national priorities.”
The bill, which will fund federal agencies for another year, includes $730 billion in non-defense spending, and $782 billion in defense spending.
US spending bill grants billion in aid to Ukraine
This is the first major government spending bill to pass under President Biden, but it does not include his $15.6 billion Covid-19 aid package.
Originally, a total of $ 30 billion was requested to fund the package, which was meant to provide funding for research in testing, vaccines, and treatment, and to halt potential new variants.
However, House Republicans were reluctant to spend more federal money on Covid-19, and some Democrats agreed to take money already set aside for Covid relief for state governments and use it for the new package.
Many other congressmen and women of both parties did not support the move to take away necessary funding from states that still had not recovered economically from the pandemic.
So, rather than allotting those fund to the new package, it was scrapped all together. This came after lawmakers feared that lack of support for the move could result in the entire spending bill’s failure on the House floor.
Despite controversy over the proposed Covid-19 package, one portion of the bill, which will provide aid to Ukraine, received bipartisan support.
The bill includes a $13.6 billion aid package for Ukraine, which would allot $6.5 billion to the Pentagon and $6.7 billion in humanitarian aid for Ukrainians and refugees.
US inflation rate at 40-year high
The US inflation rate currently sits at 7.9%, which is the highest it’s been in 40 years. Increased inflation comes as the prices of gas and goods, which had already been elevated, skyrocketed in response to the war in Ukraine.
The current inflation rate, which is measured by the Labor Department’s consumer-price index, is at its highest since it reached 8.4% in 1982.
The US is not the only country to face a dramatic rise in inflation.
Greece’s annual inflation rate soared by 7.2% in February compared to 6.2% in January, which has accelerated a trend that has followed the COVID-19 pandemic and now the Russia-Ukraine conflict, official statistical data released Thursday indicates.
The surge in consumer prices was driven by the price of electricity and fuel, especially gasoline, which has grown astronomically over the past year.
Data shows Greek inflation driving electricity prices higher by an astronomical 71.4% in February, with natural gas leading all other forms of energy with a 78.5% rise. Fuels and lubricants rose by 23.2%, and heating oil rose by 41.5%.