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U.S. House Passes Defense Bill Allocating Funding For Ukraine's Military, Baltic Stability

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $770 billion defense bill that provides funding for Ukraine's military and Baltic stability and pushes back against China.

The bill passed late on December 7 with strong bipartisan support and is expected to be voted on by the Senate this week.

Democrats control both the House and Senate. Upon passage by both houses of Congress, the bill would have to be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.

The bill authorizes $25 billion more than requested by Biden and would increase the defense budget by about 5 percent, but omits a proposal to impose mandatory sanctions over Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

Lawmakers also dropped an amendment that would have banned U.S. citizens from purchasing Russian sovereign debt.

Ukraine's military will receive $300 million under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, while $4 billion is earmarked for the European Defense Initiative and $150 million for Baltic security cooperation.

The bill targets China with $7.1 billion allocated for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative, a statement of congressional support for the defense of Taiwan, and a ban on the Defense Department procuring products produced using forced labor from China's Xinjiang region.

The United States says China is carrying out genocide against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, with as many as 2 million incarcerated in detention camps.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters

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