03:19 GMT09 August 2020
Listen Live
    US
    Get short URL
    2205
    Subscribe

    The White House earlier this year reportedly refused to release a multimillion-dollar defence aid package to Kiev during the summer period when US President Donald Trump allegedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

    Attempting to prevent the Trump administration from again withholding Ukraine aid, House Dems reportedly tried to insert language in this week’s spending package that would require the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to sign off on and release Pentagon funding for Ukraine within 45 days.

    In turn, the Trump administration reportedly warned House Democrats of a presidential veto - that could lead to a government shutdown - if they refused to drop the language requiring the quick release of future military aid for Ukraine, The Washington Post broke the news Friday, citing sources.

    According to the WAPO report, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland said that the Ukraine provision was a non-starter for the US president.

    “We made crystal clear that no restriction on the president’s apportionment powers would be acceptable to him regardless of topic [...] And through a lot of negotiation and work back and forth, the administration and Congress were able to reach an appropriate outcome on that issue”, Ueland said, cited by the Washington Post.

    Ueland and other administration officials said, cited by The Washington Post, that they objected not because of the issue related to Ukraine, but to prevent executive branch authorities from misusing funds that have previously been approved by Congress.

    The Trump impeachment - launched by House Dems in September - was predicated on the misuse of a Department of Defence program called the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative for the 2019 fiscal year. Trump ultimately allowed the funding in the program to be released in September, after a whistleblower complaint about his phone call with Zelensky went public.

    The provision kept out of the spending bill involves the same amount of money, but for the 2020 fiscal year. The language would have given the Pentagon a green light to spend Ukraine money for 2020 within 45 days of enactment of the spending package by forcing the OMB to release it, The Washington Post said.

    Related:

    US Defence Spending Bill Requires List of Academic Institutions in China, Russia
    US House Passes $738Bln 2020 Defence Spending Bill
    What’s Inside $1.4 Trillion Spending Bill US House Passed in Unlikely Show of Bipartisanship
    US Senate Clears Second of Two Spending Bills to Avert Government Shutdown
    Tags:
    Democrats, military aid, Ukraine, Trump administration, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion