President Joe Biden will sign a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine during his trip to Asia to put arms and resources from the Ukrainian military into the hands of the Ukrainian people without interruption.
The Senate passed the measure Thursday after the president and his team made their way to Seoul, the first stop on his trip to South Korea and Japan.
“The president intends to sign the bill while he’s on the road so he can get it signed quickly,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters traveling with the president.
“There won’t be a gap for that very reason,” Sullivan said. “So we will have the kind of continued support that we have asked for. And for that, we’re grateful for the bipartisan support we’ve had from Congress, which has stood up and done so in a timely manner,” he added.
An adviser is expected to fly a hard copy of the legislation to Asia once registered, to send it to Biden for signature, after which it will become law.
President Joe Biden boarded the Air Force Thursday at the beginning of a trip to Seoul, Korea, his first trip to Asia as President. He will sign a $40 billion law in support of Ukraine
The White House has not provided further details on when Biden will sign it.
The President has plenty of time to sign the bill into law when he returns next week. But the government has been urging swift action as its drawdown authority to supply Ukraine with ammunition is at an end, even as it tries to stave off a continued Russian offensive to its east and south.
Ukrainian leaders have sounded the alarm that the nation would run out of aid by Thursday unless Congress acts.
The signing of the bill is just the first evidence of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to advance its agenda, even as it tries to break away to focus on the Asia-Pacific region.
“This is a show of strong leadership and a necessary contribution to our common defense of freedom,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The bill passed the Senate 86-11
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles and trucks are piled together on wasteland on the edge of Bucha war zone May 19, 2022 in Bucha, Ukraine. The US is supplying Ukraine with more artillery and anti-tank weapons
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) was one of 11 Republicans who voted against the Ukraine bailout package
“The President intends to sign the bill while he’s away so he can get it signed quickly,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters
The announcement came after the Senate passed the aid package by an 86-11 bipartisan vote, with all opponents coming from Republicans.
Sullivan’s gratitude came after Biden thanked leaders of both parties in a White House statement, even as other key government priorities languish.
The military component will strengthen Ukraine’s military as the war stretches into its fourth month.
The measure brings total US funding for the conflict to $54 million in two months.
Republican holdouts complained that there were more pressing issues at home and complained of insufficient oversight.
Senators who voted against $40 million Ukraine aid
Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
John Boozman, R-Ark.
Mike Braun, R-Ind.
Mike Crapo, R-Idaho
Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn.
Josh Hawley, R-Mo.
Mike Lee, R-Utah
Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.
Roger Marshall, R-Kan.
Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala
“I applaud Congress for sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom,” Biden said in a statement accompanying the bill . “The resources I have requested will allow us to send even more arms and ammunition to Ukraine, replenish our own supplies and support US troops stationed on NATO territory.”
The President also announced that he would provide another package of security support in the form of artillery, radar and other equipment.
Senator Rand Paul had defied leaders of both parties and prevented the Senate from quickly passing the bill last week.
Paul had requested that new wording be added to the bill that would prompt an inspector general to examine the new spending.
Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized Paul’s move, saying the bill “already contains millions of dollars in support of additional oversight measures, including additional funding for existing inspectors general.”
Other distractors in Thursday’s vote included Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., John Boozman, R-Ark., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.
Russia is now more than two months into what is said to be a days-long war after losing thousands of troops and vehicles in what Putin considers tantamount to catastrophe
Destroyed Russian armored vehicles and trucks are piled up on wasteland on the edge of the Bucha war zone on May 19
A Ukrainian policeman checks the rubble of a heavily damaged sunflower seed processing plant after a Russian bomb attack in the village of Velyka Kostromka, Ukraine, Thursday, May 19
Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the weekend, urged Republicans to vote for the law while predicting it would easily pass.
“It’s going to be a bipartisan landslide,” McConnell said Thursday before the vote. “Anyone worried about the cost of supporting a Ukrainian victory should consider the much greater cost if Ukraine loses.”
After the vote, Paul said he didn’t think Americans would have backed the aid if they knew what it cost them.
“The senators who voted to give Ukraine $40 billion argue that it is in our national security interest,” Paul said after the Senate vote. “I wonder if Americans across our country would agree if they were shown the cost if they were asked to pay for it.”
Paul added, “By my calculation, every income taxpayer in our country would have to pay $500 to support that $40 billion, which by some reports is a down payment and will need to be replenished in about four months.”
Sullivan was also asked en route what it would mean for Biden’s visit if North Korea conducted another ballistic missile or nuclear test while the president was there.
“This could result in the United States only increasing our steadfastness in defending our allies and making adjustments to the way our military is deployed in the region,” Sullivan said.
“As for the trip, I think it would only underscore one of the most important messages we are sending on this trip, which is that the United States is here for our allies and partners. We are here to help deter and defend the ROK and Japan. We will respond resolutely to all threats and aggression,” he added.