A bipartisan lend-lease bill to allow the U.S. to more quickly send military aid to Ukraine was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Monday in the Oval Office.
The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 passed the Senate last month by unanimous consent, followed by the House, where it passed by a 417-10 vote several weeks later.
“I’m signing a bill that provides another important tool in our efforts to support the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in their fight to defend their country and their democracy against Putin,” Biden said.
The bill was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 22 senators from both parties, including Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who called it a “game-changer for Ukraine” after it passed.
“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable strength and bravery, and we must again serve as the arsenal of democracy and ensure they have the full range of resources necessary to defend their sovereignty,” Cornyn said in a statement.
The law gives the president the authority to lend or lease “defense articles” to the governments of Ukraine and other Eastern European countries effected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
The U.S. offered lend-lease to allies during World War II, beginning about a year before entering the war. The U.S. sent about $50 billion in assistance to more than 30 countries during the war, according to the State Department.
The U.S. even had lend-lease with the Soviet Union during World War II, sending more than 400,000 Jeeps and trucks, 14,000 airplanes, 4.5 million tons of food between 1941 and 1945, according to the U.S. Embassy in Russia.
“Lend-Lease was a model of cooperation in a fight for democracy then in World War II and a model for, for us to proceed now,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a ceremony for the bill last week.
The U.S. and allies announced new measures against Russia on Sunday after Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with G7 leaders. The G7 announced sanctions against Russian state-owned media and a U.S. ban on providing financial services like accounting and corporate formation to anyone in Russia. The group also expanded the ban on Russian oil, gas, and coal to the entire G7.