US to loan and lease military supplies to Ukraine under Congress-approved bill
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to use the framework of a program dating back to World War II to allow the federal government to loan and lease military equipment to Ukraine while that it resists the Russian troops.
The legislation, called the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, would remove red tape and require the White House to create an expedited process for loaning or leasing military equipment to the Ukrainian government.
The law project, past 417-10 with all the negative votes from Republicans, now goes to President Joe Biden for his expected signature.
“Eighty years ago, the United States established the Lend-Lease program to provide military and humanitarian assistance to Britain and our allies in Europe as it stood on the front line to oppose the Axis powers that threatened democracies around the world, including our own,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Representative Mary Gay Scanlon.
Today, the people of Ukraine are on the front lines in the struggle for democracy and against tyranny, and the United States must provide them with all possible humanitarian and military assistance.
– U.S. Representative Mary Gay Scalon, D-Pa.
“Today, the people of Ukraine are on the front lines in the fight for democracy and against tyranny, and the United States must provide them with all possible humanitarian and military assistance.”
Indiana Republican Representative Victoria Spartz – who was born in 1978 in what was then the Soviet Union, but is now Ukraine – spoke in favor of the bill, saying “streamlining of the process” of lending or leasing arms and equipment to Ukraine was crucial.
Spartz said she had been to Ukraine twice recently and had witnessed the “brutality of this war” and the “atrocities committed against the civilian population”.
“It’s very difficult to put into words, very disturbing. But the strength and resilience of the Ukrainian people and their optimism is very inspiring to me as an American,” Spartz said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, said the only acceptable outcome of the war in Ukraine is Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “strategic defeat” and “global crime.”
“Anything less would send a dangerous signal to other dictators around the world that wars of aggression could yield net gains. This must not happen,” Hoyer said. “America and our allies must ensure that the only thing Putin takes away from invading Ukraine is a hard lesson learned through bitter defeat and loss.”
Michigan GOP Representative Tim Walberg recalled his trip to Ukraine over Easter while urging his colleagues to vote for the bill.
“Stand in solidarity with Ukraine. They stood by our side,” he said.
The 10 Republicans who vote against the measure include Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs, North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop, Ohio Rep. Warren Davidson, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman, Pennsylvania Rep. Scott Perry and Wisconsin Rep. Tom Tiffany.
The legislation will allow the Biden administration to loan or lease military equipment to Ukraine or other Eastern European governments “to help build those countries’ defense capabilities and protect their populations.” civilians” of Russia.
Biden has the authority under the Arms Export Controls Act to loan or lease military equipment to other countries as long as it is in the national security interest of the United States. But several Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this year to remove some of the bureaucratic hurdles and speed up the process.
The legislation will override some of the existing lend-lease requirements, including that loans must be capped at five years and that the government accepting the lease will pay the United States for all costs associated with the lease.
The legislation also requires the Biden administration to create expedited procedures for timely delivery of military equipment under the Lend-Lease program within 60 days of the bill taking effect.
The US Senate passed the invoice on a voice vote in early April.
New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen, one of the main co-sponsors, said at the time that “getting military aid as quickly as possible is critical to Ukraine’s ability to defend against Putin’s unprovoked attacks”.
“As the world bears witness to the most serious threat to Europe’s security and our global stability since the Second World War, this legislation aimed at speeding up the process of moving military equipment to the front lines could not be more urgent,” Shaheen said.
Lend-Lease and FDR
The US Congress originally approved the Lend-Lease Act (HR 1776) in 1941, giving the President the power to sell, loan, or lease military equipment to any nation deemed vital to national security.
Then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt urged Congress to approve the legislation in his January 1941 message, according to the office of the United States House Historian.
“We cannot, and we will not, tell them that they must surrender, simply because of their current inability to pay for the weapons that we know they must have,” he said.
After the bill took effect, Roosevelt established the Office of Lend-Lease Administration and ordered the first shipment of food and equipment to the United Kingdom, according to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.
Within two years, Roosevelt added Australia, China, New Zealand, and the Soviet Union to the list of countries eligible for Lend-Lease along with many others, including the Netherlands, Norway, and Poland. , with governments in exile at the time.
The list of supplies sent during the World War II Lend-Lease program was long. It included items directly needed by other armies, such as planes, tanks, small arms, and ships, as well as clothing and food.
During his speech on the floor Thursday, Hoyer noted that Roosevelt said the Lend-Lease program helped make America an “arsenal for democracy.”
“Today the battle for democracy is being fought in another European nation – Ukraine,” Hoyer said. “The Ukrainian people are directly engaged in the fight. They are the tip of the spear.
The US House vote to approve the bipartisan Lend-Lease measure on Thursday came just hours after Biden called Congress will approve $33 billion in additional economic, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.
Hoyer said he plans to introduce that bill as soon as Democrats and Republicans agree on the package.