Defense

House sends Ukraine military aid lend-lease bill to Biden’s desk

The House passed legislation on Thursday establishing a lend-lease program to make it easier for the U.S. to send military aid to Ukraine, with the measure now headed to President Biden for his signature.

The Ukrainian Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act would make it easier to provide support to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s invasion, which has entered its third month.

The bill passed by a vote of 417-10, with all 10 no votes coming from Republicans.

The Senate passed the legislation by voice vote earlier this month as part of a deal to end permanent normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, as well as a bill to ban Russian oil imports.

The bipartisan bill, first introduced by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) in January, was aimed at streamlining power that the president already has under the Arms Export Control Act to lend and lease defense equipment when it is in the best interest of U.S. national security.

“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable strength and bravery, and we must again serve as the arsenal of democracy and ensure they have the full range of resources necessary to defend their sovereignty,” Cornyn said in a statement following passage of the bill.

“This legislation will be a game-changer for Ukraine, and I’m grateful to my House colleagues for recognizing its importance and quickly sending it to the President’s desk,” he continued.

Passage of the bill came hours after Biden on Thursday sent a request to Congress for $33.4 billion in additional assistance to Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in security assistance for Ukraine and other military aid.

The request also includes $8.5 billion for economic assistance and $3 billion in humanitarian assistance and food security funding. 

This wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. implemented a lend-lease program help its partners.

Prior to entering World War II in 1941, Washington established one to help Great Britain and other allies during World War II while not actively fighting in the war.

The legislation comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags into its third month. Washington has provided Ukraine with over $4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden administration, including about $3.4 billion since the invasion began on Feb. 24.

Updated at 5:35 p.m.

Tags Ben Cardin Biden John Cornyn Lend-lease military aid Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine military aid Ukraine war

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