- The approval signifies a magnified commitment to thwart Putin’s invasion on Ukraine
- The measure sailed to passage by a lopsided 368-57 margin
- The bill would give Ukraine military & economic assistance, help regional allies, replenish weapons
A fresh $40 billion Ukraine aid package, signed by US President Donald Trump, was approved by the House on Wednesday. The approval signifies a magnified, bipartisan commitment to thwart Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bloody three-month-old invasion.
The measure sailed to passage by a lopsided 368-57 margin, providing $7 billion more than Biden’s request from April and dividing the increase evenly between defense and humanitarian programs. The bill would give Ukraine military and economic assistance, help regional allies, replenish weapons the Pentagon has shipped overseas and provide $5 billion to address global food shortages caused by the war’s crippling of Ukraine’s normally robust production of many crops.
The measure was backed by every voting Democrat and by nearly 3 out of 4 Republicans. House debate reflected a perspective, shared broadly by both parties, that the U.S. has even more at stake than standing by Ukraine.
The new legislation would bring American support for the effort to nearly $54 billion, including the $13.6 billion in support Congress enacted in March. That’s about $6 billion more than the US spent on all its foreign and military aid in 2019, according to a January report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which studies issues for lawmakers. It’s also around 1 per cent of the entire federal budget.
The measure was released as Washington has become increasingly assertive about its goals and its willingness to help Ukraine with more sophisticated weapons. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said recently the U.S. wants a “weakened” Russia that can’t quickly restore its capability to attack other countries.
Russian attacks on Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa have intensified in what seems an attempt to hamper deliveries of Western arms. Those weapons have helped Ukraine hold its own surprisingly well against its more lethal foe, but the grinding war is taking its toll.
(With inputs from AP)
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