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Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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U.S. House passes $40 bln bill to bolster Ukraine against Russian invasion

The U.S. House of Representatives approved more than $40 billion more aid for Ukraine on Tuesday (May 10), as Congress races to keep military aid flowing and boost the government in Kyiv as it grapples with the Russian invasion.

The House passed the Ukraine spending bill by 368 to 57, with every ‘no’ vote coming from Republicans. The measure now heads to the Senate, which is expected to act quickly.

President Joe Biden had asked Congress to approve an additional $33 billion in aid for Ukraine two weeks ago, but lawmakers decided to increase the military and humanitarian funding.

“This bill will protect democracy, limit Russian aggression, and strengthen our own national security, while, most importantly, supporting Ukraine,” Democratic Representative Rosa DeLauro, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, said as she urged support for the spending package.

Biden had called on Congress to move quickly so he could sign the bill into law before existing defense aid for Ukraine runs out later in May.

Some Republicans opposed the bill, criticizing Democrats for moving too quickly to send too many U.S. taxpayer dollars abroad. Biden’s fellow 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, appealed for assistance to both Democratic and Republican senators at their weekly party lunches on Tuesday.

“It was a very heartfelt and easy to understand message: Their people are dying, they’re running out of supplies and ammunition. They need our help quickly. Thank you for all our help. Please. Speed it up,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said after Markarova spoke.

Republican Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and leader of the Senate Ukraine caucus, said he expected enough Republican backing for the bill to get it through the Senate.

“I think it will pass. There will be significant Republican support,” he said.

(Production: Colette Luke)

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