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 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.