WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) released the following statements after the House of Representatives passed their Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, which would authorize the President to enter into lend-lease agreements with Ukraine to provide additional categories of military equipment to protect civilians:
“Democracy and the sovereignty of an independent nation are at risk as Ukraine does all it can to fend off the unprovoked and deadly assault from Russia,” said Senator Cardin. “As the United States continues to support Ukrainian defenses, I’m proud of the bipartisan, bicameral support our bill received to streamline the president’s ability to further bolster Ukraine’s defenses, defend innocent civilians and protect our frontline NATO allies who may be Putin’s next targets. Ukraine must prevail against this horrific Russian aggression.”
“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable strength and bravery, and we must again serve as the arsenal of democracy and ensure they have the full range of resources necessary to defend their sovereignty,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation will be a game-changer for Ukraine, and I’m grateful to my House colleagues for recognizing its importance and quickly sending it to the President’s desk.”
“We should be doing everything possible to assist our courageous friends in Ukraine, especially as Russia launches a new phase of attacks,” Senator Wicker said. “Enhancing our ability to loan and lease military equipment to Ukraine is essential to helping Ukraine fight back. I am glad to see the House recognize how important this measure is. Congress has done its job, and I urge President Biden to sign this bill immediately.”
“Every lever must be pulled to help Ukraine defend itself against Putin’s campaign of terror, which is slaughtering innocent civilians and reaping destruction across Ukraine. I’m encouraged to see the number of bipartisan bills clearing Congress to that end, which now includes my legislation with Senator Cornyn to expedite the process of moving military equipment to the frontlines,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue to work across the aisle in support of our Ukrainian partners and to hold the Kremlin accountable for its crimes against Ukraine. The U.S. must continue to lead the global response to assist Ukraine and in fierce opposition to Putin’s tyranny, which is targeting Ukraine today and continues to pose a threat to liberal democracies around the world.”
In addition, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Angus King (I-Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
As part of his Arms Export Control Act and Foreign Assistance Act authorities, the President can currently lend and lease defense articles to U.S. partners and allies when it is in the United States’ national security interest. However, bureaucratic barriers and other limitations make these authorities impractical for the current crisis facing Ukraine.
This enhanced lend-lease authority would be specific to Ukraine to help remove obstacles to lending arms to Ukraine. It would not create a new program but would streamline the President’s current authority to lend the defense articles necessary to defend civilian populations in Ukraine. In addition, this legislation would:
- Require the President or his designee to establish expedited delivery procedures for any military equipment loaned or leased to Ukraine to ensure timely delivery to Ukraine; and
- Remain in effect upon enactment for two years, with the possibility of Congress extending the authority if needed.
This legislation was passed by the Senate earlier this month and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.