US Congress Plans Nearly $40 Billion More for Ukraine, COVID Aid to Wait


The latest on the RussiaUkraine crisis, May 10. Click here for updates from May 9.

US Congress Plans Nearly $40 Billion More for Ukraine, COVID Aid to Wait

U.S. congressional Democrats agreed to rush $39.8 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, two sources familiar with the proposal said on Monday, easing fears a delayed vote could interrupt the flow of U.S. weapons to the Kyiv government.

The House of Representatives could pass the plan, which exceeds President Joe Biden’s request last month for $33 billion, as soon as Tuesday, and Senate leaders said they were also prepared to move quickly.

A proposal for additional COVID-19-related funding, which some Democrats had wanted to combine with the emergency Ukraine funding, will now be considered separately.

Biden on April 28 asked Congress for $33 billion to support Ukraine, including more than $20 billion in military assistance. That proposal was a dramatic escalation of U.S. funding for the war with Russia.

The new proposal includes an additional $3.4 billion for military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian aid, the sources said.

Biden’s fellow Democrats and Republicans both said they supported more aid for Ukraine and would approve emergency funding quickly, but it was delayed by disputes between the parties over whether additional funding for COVID-19 relief or stiffer immigration controls should be included.

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Biden Signs Ukraine ‘Lend-Lease’ Program Bill

Washington sought to portray a united front against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Monday as President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan measure to reboot the World War II-era “lend-lease” program that helped defeat Nazi Germany to bolster Kyiv and Eastern European allies.

The new legislation is largely symbolic, but comes as Congress is poised to unleash more resources of $33 billion or more to fight the war. It all serves as a rejoinder to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has seized on V-E day, the anniversary of Germany’s unconditional surrender and Russia’s biggest patriotic holiday, to rally his people behind the invasion.

Before signing the bill, Biden said that “Putin’s war” was “once more bringing wanton destruction of Europe,” drawing reference to the significance of the day.

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US Suspending Import Taxes on Ukrainian Steel

The United States is suspending 25 percent import taxes on Ukraine’s steel in a show of support for the country’s beleaguered economy during the Russian invasion.

The Commerce Department said Monday that it would withdraw the tariffs for a year. Ukraine accounts for only about 1 percent of U.S. steel exports.

Some of the country’s largest steel communities have been among those hardest hit during the war, including the Mariupol mill that’s the only part of the strategically important port city not under Russian control.

“We can’t just admire the fortitude and spirit of the Ukrainian people—we need to have their backs and support one of the most important industries to Ukraine’s economic well-being,’’ Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo said. “For steel mills to continue as an economic lifeline for the people of Ukraine, they must be able to export their steel.’’

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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