President Joe Biden has signed a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine while on a visit to South Korea. The US Senate approved the aid while the president was away from the country, so the bill was flown out to him, so he could sign it immediately. He signed the aid package bill on Saturday, after which he had dinner with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol.
The $40 billion packages is the largest the United States had given to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24. With this bill, Washington will be approving over $50 billion in aid to Ukraine, even though Biden had originally asked Congress for $33 billion before lawmakers raised it to about $40 billion. The bill was passed on May 10 to assist Ukraine with military, humanitarian, and economic assistance.
A total of 86 Democrats and 11 Republicans signed the bill. Legislators also approved the presidential nomination of Bridget Brink as the newest US diplomat to Ukraine – Washington has not had an ambassador in Ukraine for three years. Lawmakers approved the $40 billion aid package shortly after confirming the nomination of Brink. President Biden also thanked the legislators for their support in both regards.
“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.
The aid package bill was delayed in the Senate when Republican Senator Rand Paul would not allow it to go for a quick vote, and Senator Mike Braun questioned why such a large amount should be given out to Ukraine when the United States is servicing a big national debt. “I’m always going to ask the question, how are we paying for it?” Senator Braun stated.
According to White House officials, the aid package is broken down into $6 billion for weapons, military training, and security equipment; $8.9 billion to restock US equipment sent to Ukraine; and $3.9 billion for operations at the European Command. There is also $11 billion for the Presidential Drawdown Authority; $5 billion for the global food shortage stemming from the Russian-Ukraine conflict; $9 billion to boost the economy of Ukraine; and $900 million to assist Ukrainian refugees.
“This is a large package, and it will meet the large needs of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their survival,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.