Pence votes against spending bill

Rep. Greg Pence, R-Indiana, has voted against a short-term spending bill that would avert a partial government shutdown when the current fiscal year ended at midnight Friday and provide another infusion of military and economic aid to Ukraine as it seeks to repel Russia’s brutal invasion.

The House voted 230-201 on Friday to pass the measure, sending it to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature just hours before a deadline midnight Friday to avoid the shutdown.

The Senate passed the measure on Thursday in a 72-25 vote. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, voted in favor of the bill, while Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, voted against it.

The bill finances the federal government through Dec. 16 and buys lawmakers more time to agree on legislation setting spending levels for the 2023 fiscal year, The Associated Press reported.

The bill, with some exceptions, also keeps spending at federal agencies at current levels through mid-December. The most notable of those exceptions is the more than $12 billion that will be provided to aid Ukraine, on top of more than $50 billion provided in two previous bills, according to wire reports. The money will go to provide training, equipment and logistics support for the Ukraine military, help Ukraine’s government provide basic services to its citizens and replenish U.S. weapons systems and munitions.

Disaster assistance was attached to the stopgap bill, including $2.5 billion to help New Mexico communities recover from the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, the largest wildfire in the state’s history; $2 billion for a block grant program that aids the economic recovery of communities impacted by recent disasters and $20 million for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements previously authorized for Jackson, Mississippi, according to wire reports.

An additional $18.8 billion was included for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to respond to current and future disasters, such as Hurricane Ian, which hit Florida on Wednesday.

The bill would provide an additional $1 billion for a program that helps low-income households heat their homes, according to the AP. And it would transfer $3 billion from a Pentagon aid program to the State Department for continued Afghan resettlement operations.

The bill’s passage is the last must-do item on lawmakers’ list before returning to their home states and districts to campaign before the mid-term elections that will determine which party controls the House and Senate over the next two years, according to wire reports.