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Congress extends WWII-era lend-lease program to Ukraine

The House on Thursday gave final passage on a measure that would establish a “lend-lease” military aid program to Ukraine modeled on the program the Roosevelt administration used to bolster allies before the U.S. entered World War II.

The bill, which revamps FDR’s lend-lease program, passed 417-10 in the House and now proceeds to President Biden’s desk for signature.

“It is vital that the U.S. does everything possible to get the necessary weapons to Ukraine and our eastern European partners to defend against Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression,” said Texas Rep. Michael T. McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “With this bill, we are standing with the generations of Ukrainians impacted by this devastation.”

The updated bill for Ukraine lifts some reimbursement requirements and allows military equipment to be leant or leased for more than five years.

The Senate passed its version of the bill, which was first introduced by Sens. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, and Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, by voice vote earlier this month.

“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable strength and bravery, and we must again serve as the arsenal of democracy and ensure they have the full range of resources necessary to defend their sovereignty,” said Sen. Cornyn in a statement Thursday. “This legislation will be a game-changer for Ukraine, and I’m grateful to my House colleagues for recognizing its importance and quickly sending it to the president’s desk.”

Mr. Biden is expected to sign the bill into law.

Earlier Thursday the White House requested an additional $33.4 billion in Ukraine aid from Congress, including $20 billion in security assistance, $8.5 billion in economic assistance, and $3 billion in humanitarian assistance.

The Biden administration has provided nearly $3.4 billion in assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in late February.



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