Senate Passes $40 Billion Ukraine War Package
May 19, 2022 (EIRNS)—President Biden hailed the Senate’s passage today of a new $40 billion aid package for Ukraine—the majority of it for military assistance—as “a clear bipartisan message to the world that the people of the United States” want the administration “to send even more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine, replenish our own stockpile, and support U.S. troops stationed on NATO territory”—a highly dubious assertion. The vote was 86-11, those opposing being all Republicans.
In the same statement, the President announced that today he had ordered yet another package of security assistance for weapons and equipment to be sent “to the front lines” of Ukraine’s fight against “Russia’s ongoing aggression.” Secretary of State Tony Blinken specified that this is the tenth presidential drawdown for Ukraine from Department of Defense inventories, valued at up to $100 million. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby reported that the order covers 18 additional 155 mm howitzers, 18 more tactical vehicles and three additional counter-artillery radars.
According to Blinken, that brings total U.S. direct military assistance to Ukraine, so far, to $3.9 billion. Congress’s authorization of the $40 billion came just in time, apparently. According to Reuters, this drawdown finished up what remained in the previously-funded Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), which allows the President to authorize the transfer of “excess weapons” from U.S. stocks without Congressional approval, “in response to an emergency.” That $40 billion package authorizes an additional $11 billion for the PDA.