The Senate on Thursday passed legislation aimed at providing $39.8 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, just ahead of the deadline in which the Pentagon was slated to exhaust its previously appropriated funds to assist the country in its fight against Russia’s unprovoked attacks.
The House passed the measure in a 368-57 vote earlier this month. The Senate on Thursday cleared the measure 86-11. President Joe Biden is set to sign the measure quickly.
Its passage comes in the wake of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) delaying the bill for days in a push to amend the measure to include language to create a special inspector general to oversee how the additional aid is spent. This, despite leadership in both parties advocating that the bill be passed swiftly. The amendment was ultimately not brought to the floor.
Proponents of the measure argued that it provides necessary funds to assist an allied country to defend itself against Russia’s attempted takeover.
“It is embarrassing to say we had to wait a full calendar week in the midst of a bloody war where innocent people are dying and a nation has been driven and reduced to rubble, to sit here for a political purpose and wait for this week for the approval of U.S. aid to Ukraine,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said on the floor.
“It should have happened immediately last week, no excuses,” he said. “I applaud the House of Representatives for taking quick and decisive action. This bill shouldn’t be delayed in the Senate any longer — it’s time for us to stand up once and for all and make it clear we are standing by Ukraine and their defense of democracy.”
The bill would provide the country with significantly more resources than Biden’s initial request of $33 billion. The legislation was also uncoupled from supplemental pandemic funding in an effort to ease its passage in both chambers.
The bill allocates $67 million for the Department of Justice to help “cover the costs of seizing, retaining, and selling forfeited property” from Russian oligarchs who have helped fund the attack.
Another $6 billion is slated to be used to provide “training, equipment, weapons, logistics support, supplies and services, salaries and stipends, sustainment, and intelligence support” to the military and national security forces of Ukraine, with $8.7 billion expected to go toward replenishing equipment, and $3.9 billion for mission support and hardship pay for troops.
The measure looks to boost humanitarian aid by providing $900 million for refugee support services, $54 million for medical support and screening, and $5 billion to address the “rapidly growing food insecurity globally and the impact of rising food prices because of the conflict in Ukraine.”
Additionally, $190 million will be used for diplomatic programs and support, and $110 million is set to be used for embassy security.