House approves $39.8 billion Ukraine aid bill

Politics behind Ukraine aid; abortion debate

Washington — The House on Tuesday night approved $39.8 billion in aid to Ukraine, with just days to go before President Biden says his authority to fund military supplies to help fend off Russian aggression runs dry.

The bill passed 368 to 57. It will now go to the Senate and then to Mr. Biden’s desk. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of the vote that the Senate will act on the aid package “as soon as possible.”

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro introduced the supplemental bill Tuesday afternoon. The bill provides significantly more military and humanitarian aid than the $33 billion the president requested and is expected to pass in the Democratic-controlled House.

“This monumental package of security, economic and humanitarian aid will be on the Floor tonight, where we hope to secure a strong bipartisan vote,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats on Tuesday. “Time is of the essence — and we cannot afford to wait. With this aid package, America sends a resounding message to the world of our unwavering determination to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine until victory is won.”

DeLauro said Congress has a “moral responsibility to deliver this support to help end the grievous loss of life, hold Putin and his cronies accountable, and protect global democracy.” 

In addition to $6 billion for security assistance like training and weapons, the legislation includes $8.7 billion to replenish U.S. stocks of equipment sent to Ukraine and $3.9 billion for mission and intelligence support. The bill also provides $2 million for technical and regulatory support to Ukraine’s nuclear regulatory agency, and more than $5 billion to address food insecurity because of the conflict. Another $900 million would go towards helping Ukrainian refugees and arrivals with housing and other support.

The White House hopes the aid will provide sufficient support for Ukraine through September, the end of the fiscal year.

The president on Monday signed a separate bill that will allow the U.S. to lend and lease military equipment to Ukraine, an effort styled after a World War II-era program that helped defeat Nazi Germany.

Democrats decided to separate COVID-19 funding from Ukraine funding because Republicans didn’t support linking the two issues. 

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital based in Washington, D.C.

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