WASHINGTON – Washington attempted to present a united front against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday when President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan measure to restart the World War II-era “Lend-Lease” program that helped collapse Nazi Germany defeat to strengthen Kyiv and Eastern European allies.
The new legislation is largely symbolic, but comes as Congress is poised to free up another $33 billion or more in resources to fight the war. It’s all in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who used VE Day, the anniversary of Germany’s unconditional surrender and Russia’s biggest patriotic holiday, to rally his people to the invasion.
Before signing the bill, Biden said that “Putin’s war” would “yet once again bring about the wanton destruction of Europe,” citing the importance of the day.
Flanked by two Democratic lawmakers and one Republican, Biden signed the bill that sailed unanimously through the Senate last month without even the need for a formal roll-call vote. It was passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives, facing opposition from just 10 Republicans.
“It’s really important,” Biden said of bipartisan support for Ukraine. “It is important.”
Despite their disagreements over Biden’s approach and perceived missteps in confronting Russia, members of the House and Senate have stood together in a rare bipartisan way on Ukraine. Other measures, including calls to probe Putin for war crimes, have also garnered widespread support.
“As President Putin and the Russian people celebrate Victory Day today, we see Russian forces committing war crimes and atrocities in Ukraine while interfering in a brutal war that is causing so much suffering and needless destruction,” he said White House Press Secretary Jens Psaki. She said Putin “perverted history” to try to “justify his unprovoked and unjustified war.”
Biden’s latest request for an additional $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid will draw the US deeper into the conflict and test the resolve of Congress.
But as the package makes its way through the House and Senate, and voting is soon possible, lawmakers are showing no sign of backing down. Countless lawmakers have taken weekend trips to the region to see firsthand the devastation of war in Ukraine and surrounding countries as more than 5 million refugees flee the region.
Rather than tackling overseas spending — as became a popular stance during the Trump era — some lawmakers in both parties want to increase the amount of U.S. aid to Ukraine.
Congressional Democrats are preparing a plan that would increase the aid package for Ukraine to nearly $40 billion, and a vote in the House of Representatives is possible as early as Tuesday, two people familiar with the lawmakers’ mindset said.
AP contributors Alan Fram and Will Weissert contributed to this report.
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/05/09/biden-signs-ukraine-lend-lease-bill-in-rejoinder-to-putin/ Biden Signs Ukraine Lend-Lease Law in Response to Putin