A majority of the US Senate approved nearly $40 billion in aid for Ukraine on Thursday, with passage sending the bill to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law as Washington races to keep military assistance flowing nearly three months after Russia’s invasion.
As voting continued, the tally was 79 to 11 in favor of the package of military, economic and humanitarian assistance, by far the largest US aid package for Ukraine to date.
“This is a large package, and it will meet the large needs of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their survival,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, urging support for the emergency supplemental spending bill before the vote.
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“By passing this emergency aid, the Senate can now say to the Ukrainian people: help is on the way. Real help. Significant help. Help that could make sure that the Ukrainians are victorious,” Schumer said.
The House of Representatives approved the aid on May 10. But it stalled in the Senate after Republican Senator Rand Paul refused to allow a quick vote. Biden’s fellow Democrats narrowly control both the House and Senate, but Senate rules require unanimous consent to move quickly to a final vote on most legislation.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had urged lawmakers to work quickly, telling congressional leaders in a letter that the military had enough funds to send weapons to Kyiv only until Thursday, May 19.
When Biden signs the supplemental spending bill into law, it will bring the total amount of US aid approved for Ukraine to well over $50 billion since the Russian invasion began on February 24.
After delay, Congress sends $40 billion Ukraine aid package to Biden