By Michael Ginsberg
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Thursday to reinstate a World War II weapons sharing program to support Ukraine against the continuing Russian invasion.
Republican South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson introduced the Ukrainian Democracy Defense Lend Lease Act in February. It is modeled after the Lend Lease Program, which was first created by Congress in 1941 to arm Great Britain. It passed the House 417-10, with 221 Democrats and 196 Republicans voting in favor. Ten Republicans voted against the legislation.
A companion bill unanimously passed the Senate in an April 6 voice vote. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation, Politico reported, although Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby declined “to get ahead of the president’s decision with respect to” the bill during his Wednesday press conference.
“It’s absolutely the amazing, the unintended consequences of Vladimir Putin, that he’s brought Democrats and Republicans together,” Wilson said on the House floor. “He has united the people of the U.S., and with the leadership of [House Foreign Affairs Committee] chairman Greg Meeks and the ranking member Mike McCaul, Americans are united in their support of the people of Ukraine. For 63 days, the courageous people of Ukraine have resisted full-scale invasion by war criminal Putin with his murderous occupying forces, in large part due to the courageous leadership of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.”
“Ukraine’s request is simple: provide the weapons needed to protect the Ukrainian homeland and Ukrainian families.” (RELATED: Blinken, Austin Complete Secretive Meeting In Ukraine, Promise More Aid)
On behalf of Parliament of 🇺🇦, I thank @SpeakerPelosi and all members of the House of Congress🇺🇸 for supporting the Lend-Lease for 🇺🇦.
This is a historic decision! An accelerated pace of arms supply, free from the bureaucratic chain, will save the lives of Ukrainians!
— Ruslan Stefanchuk (@r_stefanchuk) April 28, 2022
The initial Lend Lease Program allowed the U.S. government to provide weapons to first Great Britain and then the Soviet Union during World War II. With both countries bankrupt, the U.S. provided them with weapons that they could either return or pay for at a later date.
The U.S. has already provided Ukraine with $13.6 billion in military aid. Biden announced earlier Thursday his request for an addition $33 billion in military and humanitarian aid, as well as funds for the Ukrainian government to keep essential services in place.