The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a mammoth $39.8 billion package of military and other aid to bolster Kiev against Moscow – more than Washington spent on foreign aid worldwide in 2019, or roughly 5 percent of the entire 2022 national security budget of the United States.
Only 57 Republicans rejected the measure in a Tuesday vote that took place just hours after the text of the bill was released. Democrats agreed to separate the bill from a $10bn Covid-19 aid package in order to push it through. This was fiercely opposed and opposed by Republicans. Already, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader has promised to “move swiftly”To pass this legislation would increase the US’ total support to Ukraine to almost $54 billion.
Nancy Pelosi (Denver, House Speaker) stated that the bill was part of US national defense and that it should be withdrawn. “Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy, and in doing so, for ours as well.”
However, critics like Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona (R) argued “we can’t help Ukraine by spending money we don’t have.”
These lawmakers also approved funding that was higher than what President Biden requested initially, at $33 trillion. “We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort,”Biden called on Monday for Congress to act quickly in order to avoid a “critical” deadline.
While the bill seeks to provide Ukraine with additional military assistance to continue its battle against Russia – authorizing up to $11 billion in direct transfers from US military stockpiles – a large portion of the funds will be spent on replenishing weapons already shipped overseas, as well as supporting other regional allies and increased troop deployments in Europe.
At least $8.7 billion of the cash will go to the State Department-run Economic Support Fund to help cover Ukraine’s budget deficit and other “emergent needs,” while another $900 million is intended for neighboring states housing Ukrainian refugees. Another $5 billion will be diverted to global food relief programs to alleviate potential disruption of supplies from war-torn Ukraine and sanction-hit Russia.
Earlier on Monday, Biden signed the ‘Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act Of 2022’, a WWII-era scheme to funnel weapons and other equipment to the government in Kiev, approved by Congress at the end of April. Weapons sent under this act are separate from the nearly $4 billion in direct military aid that the US has already sent to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s military operation in February, and from the weapon supplies authorized by the new $40 billion package.
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