The U.S. House of Representatives approved a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine after President Joe Biden called for more money to help Kyiv thwart a three-month Russian invasion.
Lawmakers passed the Ukraine bill by a vote of 368 to 57 on Tuesday, providing $7 billion more than Biden asked for in April.
It will provide Ukraine with military and economic aid, help regional allies, replenish the Pentagon’s arms shipments overseas and provide aid to address global food shortages caused by the war that has disrupted Ukraine’s usually booming production of wheat and other crops.
The measure was supported by every Democrat who voted and nearly three-quarters of Republicans. The House debate reflects a widely shared view on both sides that there is more at stake than standing with Ukraine.
“The people of Ukraine, they need us, and they desperately need our support,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee. “Vladimir Putin and his cronies must be held accountable. This bill does this by protecting democracy, limiting Russian aggression and strengthening our own national security.”
Republican Representative Kay Granger, the top Republican on the committee, said the passage of the bill sends an important message to America’s rivals.
“As China, Iran and North Korea watch our response, we must show the world that the United States stands with our allies and will do what is necessary to protect our interests abroad,” she said.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where swift action is expected. Biden had called on Congress to act quickly to sign the bill into law before existing defense aid to Ukraine runs out later in May.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, called for aid to Democratic and Republican senators at a weekly party lunch on Tuesday.
“This is a very heartfelt and understandable message: their people are dying, their supplies and ammunition are running out. They need our help soon. Thank you for all the help you’ve given us. Please. Speed it up ,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said after Markalova spoke.
Republican Senator Rob Portman, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and head of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, said he expects Republican support to get enough support for the bill to pass the Senate.
“I think it will pass. There will be plenty of Republican support,” he said.
The package includes $6 billion in security assistance, including training, equipment, weapons and support; $8.7 billion to replenish stockpiles of U.S. equipment destined for Ukraine, and $3.9 billion for European Command operations.
In addition, the bill authorizes the president to withdraw a further $11 billion, allowing the president to authorize the transfer of goods and services from U.S. stocks without congressional approval to respond to emergencies. Biden had asked for $5 billion.
It also authorized $4 billion in foreign military financing to support Ukraine and other crisis-affected countries.
Since the Russian invasion, the United States has shipped more than $3.5 billion worth of weapons to Ukraine, including howitzers, anti-aircraft stinger systems, anti-tank Javelin missiles, ammunition and the recently disclosed Ghost drone.
The new aid package also includes humanitarian aid – $5 billion to address conflict-related global food insecurity, and nearly $9 billion to Ukraine’s economic support fund.
It provides hundreds of millions of dollars to help refugees and finances efforts to seize the assets of oligarchs linked to Putin, whose government has called the invasion of Ukraine a “special military operation.”
The war has killed thousands of civilians, forced millions of Ukrainians from their homes and razed cities to the ground. Moscow has little to show other than a swathe of territory to the south and a marginal gain to the east.