The US House of Representatives on Tuesday approved more than $40 billion more aid to Ukraine as Congress scrambles to keep military aid flowing and strengthen the government in Kyiv as it grapples with the Russian invasion .
The House of Representatives passed Ukraine’s spending bill by a vote of 368 to 57, with all “no” votes coming from Republicans.
The measure now goes to the Senate, which is expected to act quickly.
President Joe Biden asked Congress two weeks ago to authorize $33 billion in additional aid to Ukraine, but lawmakers chose to increase military and humanitarian funding.
“This bill will protect democracy, limit Russian aggression and strengthen our own national security, while most importantly supporting Ukraine,” said Democratic Rep. Rosa De Lauro, chair of the House Budget Committee, as she urged support for the spending package .
Biden had urged Congress to act quickly so he could sign the law before existing defense assistance to Ukraine expires later in May.
Some Republicans opposed the bill and criticized Democrats for moving too quickly to send too much US taxpayer money abroad.
Biden’s Democrats narrowly control Congress, but the bill will need Republican votes to get through the Senate.
Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, asked for support from both Democratic and Republican senators at their weekly party dinners on Tuesday.
“It was a very heartfelt and easy to understand message: your people are dying, they are running out of supplies and ammunition. You need our help fast. Thank you for all our help. Please. Speed it up,” Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said after Markarova spoke.
Republican Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and leader of the Ukraine Senate faction, said he expects enough Republican support for the bill to get it through the Senate. “I think this will pass. There will be significant Republican support,” he said.
BILLIONS FOR GUNS
The package includes $6 billion in security support, including training, equipment, weapons and support; $8.7 billion to replenish stocks of US equipment sent to Ukraine and $3.9 billion for European command operations.
In addition, the legislation authorizes an additional $11 billion to the President’s Drawdown Authority, which allows the President to authorize the transfer of items and services from U.S. stocks without Congressional approval in response to an emergency.
Biden had asked for $5 billion.
It also approves $4 billion in foreign military financing to support Ukraine and other countries hit by the crisis.
The United States has shipped more than $3.5 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine since Russia invaded, including howitzers, Stinger anti-aircraft systems, Javelin anti-tank missiles, ammunition and recently unveiled “ghost” drones.
The new aid package also includes humanitarian aid — $5 billion to address global food insecurity stemming from the conflict and nearly $9 billion for an economic relief fund for Ukraine.
It is providing hundreds of millions of dollars to help refugees and fund efforts to seize the assets of oligarchs linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose government has described the invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation.”
The war has killed thousands of civilians, displaced millions of Ukrainians from their homes and reduced cities to rubble. Moscow has little to offer apart from a strip of land in the south and marginal gains in the east.
US House of Representatives passes $40 billion bill to strengthen Ukraine against Russian invasion – SABC News
Source link US House of Representatives passes $40 billion bill to strengthen Ukraine against Russian invasion – SABC News