Senate passes $40 billion Ukraine aid package
The Senate voted 86-11 Thursday to approve a $40 billion Ukraine aid package that would replenish U.S. stockpiles of weapons transferred to Ukraine and provide billions of dollars to help the Ukrainian government continue operating and for humanitarian assistance.
President Biden is expected to sign the legislation, which exceeds his $33 billion request to Congress, immediately. The House passed the legislation overwhelmingly earlier this month in a 368-57 vote.
Biden on Thursday applauded Congress “for sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine.”
“The resources that I requested will allow is to send even more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, replenish our own stockpile, and support U.S. troops stationed on NATO territory,” he said in a statement.
Biden announced that he would immediately provide another security package of artillery, radars and other equipment.
Democratic and Republican leaders hailed the vote as a crucial step to halting Russian aggression and firmly within U.S. national security interests.
“This is a large package, and it will meet the large needs of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their survival. As President Zelensky has said, the Ukrainians are caught up in a fight for democracy, the very democracy we love itself,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor before the vote, referring to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“It’s a fight we should not and cannot turn away from,” he warned.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) also hailed the vote and pushed back on fellow Republicans, such as former President Trump, who have complained about the cost of the package.
“The future of America’s security and core strategic interests will be shaped by the outcome of this fight. Anyone concerned about the cost of supporting a Ukrainian victory should consider the much larger cost should Ukraine lose,” he said.
The legislation would authorize the transfer of American weapons and equipment to Ukraine and provide $9 billion to replenish depleted U.S. weapons stockpiles and $6 billion in training, equipment, weapons and logistics to Ukraine’s military and national security forces.
It would also provide nearly $8.8 billion for continued operations of the Ukrainian government and counter human trafficking, $5 billion in global food aid, $4.35 billion in international disaster assistance and $900 million in refugee support services.
Eleven Republican senators led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against the measure.
Republican Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), John Boozman (Ark.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Mike Lee (Utah), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), and Tommy Tuberville (Ala.) also voted against the measure.
Senior lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say this will not be the last Ukraine aid package as they anticipate the war could last months longer.
“The Ukrainians are valiant, they’re making progress, as you’ve seen in the Kharkiv area they’ve pushed all the way to the Russian border. There are reports now they are even doing better in the east where the Russians seem to have an advantage,” Schumer told reporters Wednesday.
“We’ll try to give the Ukrainians what they need,” he said. “The least we can do is give them the weaponry they need.”
Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, also predicted additional aid packages.
“I’m sure there will be more to come. If the war goes on, it’s going to cost. Weapons — they use them up every day,” he said. “We can’t turn our backs on them.”
Updated at 3:48 p.m.