(CNSNews.com) – The $1.7-trillion, 4,155-page omnibus bill passed during the last week of the 117th Congress to fund the government through Sept. 30, 2023 includes over $47 billion for Ukraine, and increases the president’s drawdown capabilities by 291.9% since October 2022.
The bill is divided into 35 letter-designated “Divisions,” with larger divisions divided into numerical “Titles.”
Section 8110 of Title VIII of Division C – “Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2023,” allocates $300,000,000 for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) to remain available until September 30, 2024.
As CNS News has reported, the USAI “is an authority under which the United States procures capabilities from industry” to ensure that defense contractors supply Ukraine with their needed weaponry.
“Division M-Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023,” is a section of the omnibus dedicated entirely to allocated funds for the ongoing war in Ukraine. Division M is divided into eight titles.
Title I of Division M allocates $50,000,000 for “Food for Peace Title II Grants” and $5,000,000 for “McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program Grants,” both of which will remain available until expended.
Title II of Division M allocates the following amounts for various Department of Defense needs:
-- $9,000,000,000 for “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI);”
-- $11,880,000,000 for the “replenishment of US stocks” used in previous presidential drawdowns;
-- $6,980,000,000 billion for “European Command operations and related activities;”
-- $6,000,000 for “Oversight.”
Section 1201 requires the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations, Armed Services, and Foreign Relations of both the House of Representatives and the Senate “on measures being to account for United States defense articles designated for Ukraine,” within 45 days of the enactment of the omnibus.
Title III of Division M allocates the following amounts for Department of Energy needs:
-- $300,000,000 for “Nuclear Energy” to remain available until expended;
-- $126,300,300 for “Defense Nuclear Non-proliferation” to remain available until expended.
Title IV allocates $1,000,000 for “Salaries and Expenses” to remain available until expended.
Title V allocates $2,400,000,000 for “Refugee and Entrant Assistance” to remain available until expended.
Title VI allocates $7,500,000 for “Salaries and Expenses” pertaining to the “Government Accountability Office” to remain available until expended.
Title VII allocates the following amounts for the State Department and other related agencies:
-- $2,470,000,000 for “humanitarian assistance;”
-- $13,370,000,000 for “economic assistance;”
-- $560,000,000 for “security assistance;”
-- $166,000,000 for “State Department and USAID operations.”
The total amount of aid for Ukraine included in the omnibus bill totals $47,621,800,300. In addition to providing $47.6 billion in aid, the omnibus significantly increases the president’s ability to drawdown more weapons to be sent to the front lines in Europe.
Sec. 1701 of Title VII of Division M calls for Section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2318 (a)(1)) to be modified by replacing “$100,000,000” with “$14,500,000,000” for fiscal year 2023.
Section 506 of the 1961 legislation is titled “Special Authority,” and grants the president the ability to drawdown resources in special cases.
Section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 allows for the president, in the case in which “an unforeseen emergency exists which requires immediate military assistance to a foreign country,” to drawdown “defense articles from the stocks of the Department of Defense (DoD)” of a value “not to exceed $100,000,000.”
In other words, the omnibus bill increases the limit on the president’s drawdown capabilities for fiscal year 2023 from $100,000,000 to $14,500,000,000. This is a 14,400% increase of the president’s drawdown capabilities from the original 1961 law.
This is not the first time the 117th Congress has passed legislation to increase President Biden’s drawdown capabilities to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As CNS News has reported, the “continuing resolution” bill passed in early October granted Biden a 3,600% increase by making the same edits to Section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, replacing “$100,000,000” with “$3,700,000,000.”
Therefore, the Dec. 2022 omnibus bill increases the president’s drawdown ability by 291.9% since October 2022, just two months prior.
As CNS News reported, the omnibus passed the Senate with the support of 18 GOP senators, and passed through the House with support from nine GOP House members.
On Dec. 21, the night before the omnibus bill cleared the Senate, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of Congress in which he thanked the United States for its support and emphasized the need for continued assistance. “Your money is not charity. It’s an investment in the global security and democracy,” he told U.S. lawmakers.
Aside from providing funds to Ukraine, Sec. 710 of Title VII “Commemorative Works and National Memorials” of “Division DD- Public Land Management” of the omnibus bill designates 0.35 acres of land in Washington, D.C. as “Ukrainian Independence Park.”
According to the bill, the federally-established park may include signs which “include information on the importance of the independence, freedom, and sovereignty of Ukraine and the solidarity between the people of Ukraine and the United States.”