Leahy hails $40.1 billion for Ukraine, laments it didn't come sooner

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Leahy hails $40.1 billion for Ukraine, laments it didn't come sooner

Thu, 05/19/2022 - 12:03pm -- tim

Statement Of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) On Senate Passage Of The Emergency Supplemental for Ukraine
Senate Floor
Thursday, May 19, 2022

In just a few moments, the Senate will pass H.R. 7691, an emergency supplemental to provide funding to Ukraine and to stem the global hunger crisis exacerbated by Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war.

It is a shame that because of the actions of one Senator (Randal Paul, R-Kentucky) we could not pass this urgently needed bill, which will receive overwhelming bipartisan support, last week. To confront Vladimir Putin on the global stage, we must stand united. 

Tomorrow, I will be leading a delegation to Brussels to receive an update from NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg on Ukraine and why the new resources provided in this bill are urgently needed. 

The bill provides $40.1 billion in critical military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, to help defend Ukraine’s sovereignty and democracy abroad, and to address the rising, global hunger crisis.  This includes $8.5 billion in additional presidential drawdown authority for critical weapons transfers, $8.5 billion for the Economic Support Fund to respond to emerging needs in Ukraine, and over $5 billion for global food aid.

I strongly support its passage.

That said, it is frustrating that once again the Senate has failed to provide needed funding to address the ongoing COVID pandemic. 

Public health experts warn us that this virus is not done with us.  A new wave of cases is expected to crash over our country in the fall. 

For months the administration has warned that we do not have the necessary vaccines, therapeutics, tests and other resources to stay ahead of this virus.  Today, countries around the world are already placing orders for the next generation of vaccines, which are better suited to the variants we face now and the variants we expect in the future. 

The United States is not one of those countries, and without the necessary resources we will fall farther back in line and more Americans will die needlessly.  We will also run out of needed funds for testing and therapeutics before the next wave.

After more than two years and 1 million American lives lost to this disease, time and again we have been caught flat footed because we have refused to prepare for the worst.

As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for these urgently needed resources in the coming weeks.  However, the people of Ukraine and the millions facing acute food insecurity require the funds in this bill today, and I strongly urge the Senate to pass it without further delay.