Ukraine Aid Bill Set to Pass Senate With Bipartisan Support – The Wall Street Journal.

Ukraine Aid Bill Set to Pass Senate With Bipartisan Support

Ukrainian soldiers conducting a monitoring operation in Ukraine’s Donetsk region this week.
Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/Zuma Press

By Lindsay Wise + and Nancy A. Youssef 

WASHINGTON—The Senate was poised to pass later Thursday a nearly $40 billion military and economic aid package to help Ukraine repel Russia’s invasion, sending the bill to President Biden’s desk and bringing America’s spending on the effort to almost $54 billion.

The vote is expected to be overwhelmingly bipartisan, although 11 Senate Republicans voted earlier this week against advancing the bill and are expected to vote no again on final passage, citing its price tag and misgivings about a long-term commitment to funding a foreign war.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said earlier this week that the bill would send a clear message that the U.S. stands firmly against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “deeply immoral campaign of violence.”

“America’s decision to support Ukraine is not some frivolous act of charity,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), who supports the package. He said the aid would both impose massive costs on Mr. Putin as well as deter potential future invasions.

The bill set to pass Thursday includes about $6 billion to train and supply the Ukrainian military and about $9 billion to replenish stocks of U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine. On Wednesday, a senior U.S. defense official said some of that funding would go toward buying new drones and Javelins but couldn’t say how soon the U.S. could replenish its stockpile.

About $3.9 billion would go to support intelligence, equipment, and hardship pay for troops deployed to the region. The bill also provides humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees, about $8.8 billion in economic assistance for the Ukrainian government, and more than $5 billion to alleviate food scarcity and high prices caused by the war.

The Justice Department would get $67 million to help cover the costs of seizing and selling forfeited property such as Russian oligarchs’ yachts or artwork.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the bill would send a clear message that the U.S stands firmly against the Russian President’s deeply immoral campaign of violence; Samuel Corum/Zuma Press

In the early days of the war as Russia sought to capture Kyiv, the U.S. provided Ukrainian fighters with antiaircraft Stinger and antitank Javelin missiles. As Russia retreated from the capital and the war shifted toward control of the Donbas area, the types of U.S. weapons sent to Ukraine expanded to include switchblade drones and howitzer heavy artillery.

Throughout the war, the Ukrainians also needed ammunition, medical supplies, and body armor.

Most recently, Ukraine has said it needs more drones and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

The opposition from some Republicans to the latest tranche of money for Ukraine reflects longstanding disagreements between the party’s interventionist and isolationist wings—a rift exacerbated by costly, decadeslong wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the influence of former President Donald Trump’s “America First” approach, which tried to limit America’s involvement abroad. Many lawmakers also said they believe European allies should step up their support of Ukraine.

Sen.Josh Hawley of Missouri is one of the Gop Senators who opposed the Ukraine aid bill. Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg News.

Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, one of the GOP senators who opposed the bill, said it was “astronomically expensive” and had veered into nation building with direct funding of the Ukrainian government. “I think it shortchanges priorities at home. I mean we could build the border wall twice over and seal it with this amount of money,” he said, referring to the U.S.-Mexico barrier pursued by Mr. Trump.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R., Iowa.), who supports the proposal, said she didn’t believe it was incompatible with Mr. Trump’s America First mantra.

“If we want to be in America First, then we have to be America First, everywhere, right? That’s my thinking. It’s not America alone,” she said. “We can’t pretend that bad things aren’t happening in other parts of the globe.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said he would vote yes because he believes that helping Ukraine is in America’s national-security interest.

“I fully agree that we should pressure Europe to do more, but America is the indispensable nation,” said Mr. Cruz, who identified himself as a noninterventionist hawk and said a Russian victory could further drive up fuel and food prices in the U.S. and could encourage China to move against Taiwan.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, right, Meeting European Commission president Ursula Von der leyen in Brussels This week. Olivier Matthys/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels on Tuesday, encouraging the EU to commit more aid to Ukraine.

Earlier this week, the European Union approved another $527 million in military aid, bringing its total amount of aid since the start of the war to $2.1 billion. The EU also said it could offer up to €9 billion, or $9.5 billion, in short-term aid to help Ukraine’s government pay debts and keep providing basic services. The money, which needs to be agreed upon by EU national governments and the European Parliament, comes on top of a €1.2 billion loan offered earlier.

In addition, nations throughout Europe have sent billions of dollars worth of military equipment. Germany, which has long resisted shipping lethal weapons to conflict zones, changed course after the invasion. In addition, Sweden and Finland earlier this week sought to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The billion of military aid sent to Ukraine is an unprecedented international effort, and the total rivals Russia’s estimated $66 billion in defense spending in 2021.

The bill’s passage was delayed about a week after Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) thwarted an attempt to fast-track the Senate bill on Friday. He wanted the language to be added that would give the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction oversight of the money and weapons the U.S. is sending to Ukraine, and he raised concerns about further deficit spending to fund the package.

The Ukraine legislation sets aside $5 million for oversight of emergency funds, including $4 million for the State Department inspector general and $1 million for the U.S. Agency for International Development inspector general. There is also a provision that would require the Defense Department to report on measures taken to keep track of equipment provided to Ukraine.

GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said he would have liked to see a smaller bill and more oversight.

“We seem to just throw gobs of money out there and then all of a sudden it’s gone and we’re gonna turn around in August, September, and they’re gonna want more money,” he said.

Write to Lindsay Wise at and Nancy A. Youssef at

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