On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly approved a bill that would revive the World War II-era lend-lease program for Ukraine in another effort to pour weapons into the country. The lend-lease program was used to ship arms to the Soviet Union, China, the UK, and other US allies during World War II.
The bill passed through the Senate earlier this month, and it is now headed to President Biden’s desk. If signed into law, the lend-lease program would ramp up arms shipments to Kyiv by allowing the US to give weapons to Ukraine free of charge while technically requiring payment at a later date.
According to a summary of the bill, it would temporarily waive “certain requirements related to the President’s authority to lend or lease defense articles if the defense articles are intended for Ukraine’s government and necessary to protect civilians in Ukraine from Russian military invasion.”
The US would be to send weapons to Ukraine under the legislation for however long the current conflict lasts. According to the summary, it will remain in effect until “the conflict beginning with Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014 has ceased, and Russia has reduced its military force on Ukraine’s eastern border to the levels maintained prior to March 1, 2021.”
The legislation passed the House in a vote of 417-10 with only Republicans voting against it. The no votes came from Reps. Andy Biggs (AZ), Paul Gosar(AZ), Ralph Norman (SC), Tom Tiffany (WI), Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Dan Bishop (NC), Warren Davidson (OH), Scott Perry (PA), Matt Gaetz (FL), and Thomas Massie (KY).
The passage of the bill came the same day President Biden asked Congress for a massive new $33 billion assistance package for Ukraine, which includes $20.4 billion for military aid.
During World War II, the US sent its allies an enormous amount of military aid under the lend-lease program. According to the US Embassy in Russia, the program provided the Soviet Union with $11.3 billion in assistance, the equivalent of $180 billion in today’s currency, from 1941 to 1945.