House approves nearly $40 billion in aid for Ukraine.
The vote was 368-57.
All nay votes came from Republicans.
The bill now goes to the Senate. But the Senate may not vote on the plan until next week.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) May 11, 2022
READ THE BILL & NOTE THE HIGHLIGHTED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS DISTRIBUTED TO U.S. GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX:
Pelosi: “When you’re home thinking about [what $40 billion to Ukraine] is all about, just think about ‘when I was hungry, you fed me’ from the Gospel of Matthew.” pic.twitter.com/J1NukSFVuo
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) May 11, 2022
May 11, 2022 at 06:02AM House passes $40B military aid package to buttress Ukraine
The House passed a nearly $40 billion package for Ukraine late Tuesday, sending the bill to the Senate as lawmakers heed President Joe Biden’s warning that U.S. cash to help the allied country will run out in just over a week.
“The world must see that we are united in our support of Ukraine,” House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said on the floor just before the vote. “Vladimir Putin and his cronies must be held accountable. This bill does that — by protecting democracy, limiting Russian aggression and strengthening our own national security.”
As majority party leaders rallied their caucuses Tuesday to quickly advance the aid package, Ukraine’s ambassador spoke to Senate Democrats over lunch. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers who recently returned from Kyiv also met with the president Tuesday evening.
Top Democrats’ decision to forgo adding $10 billion in Covid health funding to the package — at Republicans’ insistence — has caused consternation among the majority party, since the funding for testing, therapeutics and vaccines now faces an uncertain path to final passage. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he called Biden last week to ask for the Ukraine package to pass on its own, and Biden agreed.
The Covid package might finally clear Congress on its own, however, after two Senate Democratic leaders said they are willing to give Republicans a vote on a controversial immigration policy that has stifled movement of the unrelated pandemic funding bill for more than a month.
“We will try to figure out another pathway” for the pandemic funding, DeLauro said in a brief interview, though she declined to comment on the possibility of Covid funding being attached to the immigration provisions.
Under the Ukraine aid plan, the nearly $40 billion total goes beyond Biden’s request for $33 billion, a sum that was already expected to be transformative for both the Ukrainian military and NATO allies. The almost $40 billion total amounts to more than 5 percent of the United States’ entire national security budget of $782 billion, and lawmakers opted to include even more funding for military and humanitarian programs than Biden had originally requested.
Despite the boost to Biden’s proposal, some Republicans argue more cash might still be needed to adequately help Ukraine beat back the Russian invasion.
“Defeating Putin is priceless,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the Senate’s top Republican on the spending panel that funds the State Department and foreign aid programs.
“Do I think this will be the last round? No, I think we’ll be doing this again,” Graham said. “Who knows where we’re going to be two months from now, three months from now. As long as they’re willing to fight, we need to help.”
Some House Republicans groused in their Tuesday leadership meeting about the short period of time between the bill’s release and the evening vote, according to three sources in the room.
“This is a historic vote, and it could determine the course of this war, and to vote no is a vote for Putin,” said House Foreign Affairs ranking member Mike McCaul (R-Texas).
The president’s original request included billions to arm Ukraine and finance higher troop levels in Europe, as well as restock military inventories of weapons that were sent into the fight against Russia. The White House estimated its request would bolster Ukraine through the next five months of the unfolding conflict, though some lawmakers have questioned that assessment.
“From what I understand, it’s not enough,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, during a brief interview Tuesday.
The bill would authorize up to $11 billion worth of transfers of weapons and equipment to Ukraine drawn directly from U.S. military stockpiles.
The Biden administration has used the process, known as drawdown authority, to get equipment and weapons to Ukraine quickly — most notably to arm them with Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, drones and ammunition. The White House has warned that the current $3.5 billion in drawdown authority has nearly been exhausted.
The package also includes nearly $20 billion for the Pentagon. That includes $8.7 billion to replenish weapons inventories sent to the front lines, $3.3 billion more than the administration requested. And $6 billion would go to the Pentagon’s main account to arm Ukraine’s military, along with $3.9 billion for increased troop deployments and other military operations in Europe to bolster NATO.
Amid the last-minute jostling over final text of the emergency aid package, a bipartisan group of senators pushed for the bill to allow the United States to seize and sell the assets of Russian oligarchs as a way to pay for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. The legislation includes $67 million in funding for the Justice Department to help pay for the costs of seizing and selling such assets, such as oligarchs’ yachts.
The Ukraine legislation also includes a $174,000 payment for Anne Garland Young, the wife of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who died in March at the age of 88. The payments are tradition in the chamber for the spouses or beneficiaries of lawmakers who died while still in office.
Olivia Beavers and Marianne LeVine contributed to this report. via POLITICO