WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The U.S. House of Representatives approved $40 billion in Ukraine aid in a 368-57 vote.
- All 57 opposing votes were from Republicans, most of whom argued that the bill was not paid for.
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki called for the Senate to expedite the bill’s approval so that assistance can be quickly provided to Ukraine.
A $39.8 billion aid package for Ukraine was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday in a 368-57 vote. All 57 lawmakers who voted against the bill were Republicans, while two Republicans and three Republicans did not vote.
Last month, President Joe Biden asked Congress to authorize $33 billion in aid, but Democrats proposed the nearly $40 billion package. The bill includes an additional $3.4 billion for military and humanitarian assistance as Russia’s invasion approaches the three-month mark.
Included in the package is $6 billion for security assistance, which includes weapons, equipment, supplies, logistical support, training, and services for military and national security forces in Ukraine.
About $900 million will go to refugee support services such as housing, trauma services, and language classes. Around $8.7 billion will go to the Economic Support Fund “to respond to emergent needs in Ukraine” such as budget support and the fight against human trafficking. Roughly $4.365 billion will go to the U.S. Agency for International Development’s efforts to provide emergency food assistance.
Around $8.7 billion will be used to restock equipment dispatched to Ukraine through the president’s drawdown authority, which will be further funded with $11 billion. This drawdown authority has been utilized by the Biden administration to send aid to Ukraine throughout the Russian invasion.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), the dean of the House, addressed fellow lawmakers, “This crisis has underscored the importance of capable military alliances, the centrality of NATO, and the critical importance of American leadership in the trans-Atlantic alliance.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) remarked that the bill represented “democracy versus a dictatorship.” She added, “The Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy, and in doing so, for ours as well. The world needs to know why it’s important.”
On Tuesday evening, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated, “The House took a critical step today in sending a clear, bipartisan message to Ukraine, to Russia, and to the world that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy against Russian aggression.”
Psaki called for the Senate to expedite the bill’s approval so that assistance can be quickly provided to Ukraine “without interruption.”
Meanwhile, opposing Republicans argued that the bill was not paid for and will only add to national debt.
Democrats proposed the current package without linking it to a COVID-19 assistance package. The $10-billion pandemic aid has stalled at the Senate, with Republicans demanding for an inclusion of a border policy measure that would keep Title 42 in place, which allows fast expulsion of migrants.
Source: The Hill