The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, The New York Times reports.
Both parties roundly supported the legislation, though 11 Republicans voted against the measure. The bill was delayed after Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul objected to a unanimous consent motion last week.
The bill is the biggest aid package Congress has passed in two decades and brings the total amount of US aid since Russia’s invasion to $54 billion.
President Joe Biden is expected to quickly sign the bill into law before previously approved aid dries up.
“I applaud the Congress for sending a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States stand together with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy and freedom,” Biden said in a statement.
McConnell tamped down GOP opposition:
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell worked behind the scenes to tamp down opposition from Republicans, arguing privately that it was important for the US to support Ukraine’s efforts to combat Russian aggression.
McConnell and a group of Republican senators traveled to Kyiv last week to “convey to the Europeans that skepticism about NATO itself, expressed by the previous president, was not the view of Republicans in the Senate,” he said. “And I also was trying to minimize the vote against the package in my own party.”
“We have a sort of an isolationist wing,” he added. “And I think some of the Trump supporters have sort of linked up with the isolationists — a lot of talk out in the primaries about this sort of thing. I felt this would help diminish the number of votes against the package. I think that worked out well.”
G7 vows more aid:
The G7 on Friday announced that it would provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to Ukraine.
The move came after the International Monetary Fund estimated it would require $5 billion in international aid per month to sustain Ukraine’s government and economy.
“We agreed that Ukraine’s financial situation must have no influence on Ukraine’s ability to defend itself successfully,” said German finance minister Christian Lindner. “We need to do our utmost to end this war.”
“Russia's war of aggression is causing global economic disruptions, impacting the security of global energy supply, food production and exports of food and agricultural commodities, as well as the functioning of global supply chains in general,” the G7 said in a statement.