The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a mammoth $39.8 billion package of military and other assistance to bolster Kiev against Moscow – more than 5% of the entire 2022 national security budget of the United States.
Only 57 Republicans rejected the measure in a Tuesday vote that took place just hours after the text of the bill was released. To push the bill through, Democrats agreed to detach it from a $10bn Covid-19 assistance package, fiercely opposed by Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has already promised to “move swiftly” to pass the legislation, which would bring total US support for Ukraine this year to nearly $54 billion and more than Washington spent on foreign aid worldwide in 2019.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) claimed that the bill was a matter of US national security, saying that “Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy, and in doing so, for ours as well.”
Critics like Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), however, argued “we can’t help Ukraine by spending money we don’t have.”
The lawmakers approved even more funding than the $33 billion President Biden initially asked for. “We cannot afford delay in this vital war effort,” Biden said on Monday, urging the Congress to move quickly ahead of a “critical” deadline.