The Senate will give final approval on Thursday to a $40 billion emergency military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine, as the United States ramps up support for an increasingly expensive and protracted fight against a Russian invasion.
The measure is the largest foreign aid package passed by Congress in at least two decades, and its entry into force would bring US investment in the war to about $54 billion in just over two months. The Senate was expected to pass it by an overwhelming majority, in the latest reflection of the remarkable bipartisan support on Capitol Hill for a massive investment in Ukraine’s war effort, which propelled the spending package through the House last week.
President Biden was expected to sign it into law soon. His government and Ukrainian leaders have been pushing for swift implementation, warning that they would be left without help on Thursday if Congress failed to intervene.
The move’s relatively smooth path through Congress has shown how the scorching images of suffering in Ukraine, coupled with fears of Russian aggression spreading beyond its borders, have – at least for now – challenge the resistance of both sides to US involvement. in war abroad.
Less than a dozen Republicans oppose raising the bill in a test vote Monday; several that did expressed concern about sending billions of dollars abroad for a conflict whose end point is unknown at a time when the United States is grappling with economic challenges, including inflation.
Leaders of both parties tried to ensure that skepticism about the package’s scope would not derail its passage. Kentucky Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell led a delegation of senators in his party on a surprise visit to Ukraine last weekend and pledged bipartisan support for the country’s fight against Russia.
“I think it’s important for the United States to help, important for the free world to help, important for Ukrainians to win and hopefully not many members of my party will choose to politicize this issue,” he said. Mr McConnell during a press statement. call on Sunday, speaking from Stockholm.
The legislation is significantly bigger than Mr Biden’s $33 billion request, which just weeks after Congress approved a $13.6 billion aid package for Ukraine, was split roughly equally between military and humanitarian aid. The bill, which is on track to pass on Thursday, has a similar split.
It would allow Mr. Biden to authorize the rapid transfer of up to $11 billion in U.S. weapons, equipment and defense supplies to Ukraine, and allocate about $9 billion to replenish that stock.
The transfers so far have included relatively expensive weapons such as the 5,500 Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles given to Kiev, as well as cheaper ammunition such as the 184,000 155-millimeter shells delivered to Ukraine for a prolonged artillery battle in Donbas.
The package also includes $8.8 billion for a special fund designed to help the Ukrainian government continue to function, and $4.4 billion for international disaster relief, as part of an effort to reduce disruption of the global food chain. the consequences of the war. Another $900 million would go into aid for Ukrainian refugees, including the provision of trauma and support services, English language training and housing.
John Ismay reporting contributed.