The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that would remove several constraints on sending weapons to Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian offensive. Adopted by the Senate earlier this month, the “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act” revives the program Washington used to send military equipment to belligerents in WWII while officially staying neutral.
The final vote on Thursday afternoon was 417-10, with three members not voting. All of the Democrats voted in favor, while all of the ten members opposed were Republicans.
Introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), the bill was passed by the Senate on April 6, but the Democrat-dominated House adjourned for a two-week Easter recess before taking it up.
It authorizes the White House to “lend or lease defense articles” to Ukraine or any “Eastern European countries impacted by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine to help bolster those countries’ defense capabilities and protect their civilian populations from potential invasion or ongoing aggression.”
Cornyn’s bill does not create a new program, but rather makes it easier for President Joe Biden to send weapons to Kiev by suspending limitations imposed by two existing laws, one of which caps the length of the aid at five years.