Biden signs bill to expedite military aid to Ukraine
President Biden on Monday signed legislation that will make it easier for the U.S. to send military equipment to Ukraine as the Eastern European country battles the ongoing Russian invasion.
Biden signed the bill in the Oval Office at a ceremony with Vice President Harris and members of Congress. The bill, formally known as the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, passed Congress with bipartisan support last month.
Biden affirmed U.S. support for the Ukrainians “in their fight to defend their country and their democracy against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s brutal war.”
“Every day Ukrainians pay with their lives,” Biden said. “The cost of the fight is not cheap but caving to aggression is even more costly. That’s why we’re staying in this.”
The bill was introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and allows the U.S. to lend or lease military equipment to Ukraine and other allies in Eastern Europe while streamlining the process to make it easier to do so. The bill revives a World War II-era policy that helped defeat Nazi Germany.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cheered the bill’s signing.
“Today’s signing of the law on Lend-Lease is a historic step. I am convinced that we will win together again. And we will defend democracy in Ukraine. And in Europe. Like 77 years ago,” Zelensky tweeted.
The bill passed the Senate in a voice vote and later passed the House in a bipartisan vote of 417-10 last month. All 10 of the “no” votes in the House came from Republicans.
The U.S. has sent military and other security assistance to Ukraine at a rapid clip as the country has fought back against Russian attacks on major cities such Kyiv and, more recently, on southern and eastern Ukraine.
Biden last week announced plans to send another $150 million in military aid to Ukraine, which the administration said has almost exhausted the funds authorized by Congress.
Lawmakers authorized $13.6 billion in Ukraine-related security, economic and humanitarian assistance in March. The White House is now asking lawmakers to authorize a whopping $33 billion in aid to help Ukraine sustain the fight against Russia over the coming months and address the refugee crisis and global economic impacts of the war.
—Updated at 4:52 p.m.
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