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House approves new aid package for Ukraine worth nearly $40 billion

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House approves new aid package for Ukraine worth nearly $40 billion
Father Andrii Gavalin presides over a funeral in Bucha, Ukraine, on Tuesday for a man who went missing two months ago. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

May 11 (UPI) -- The House passed an aid package for Ukraine worth nearly $40 billion late on Tuesday, which would procure military equipment and weapons to ship to the war-torn country.

Lawmakers in the chamber voted 368-57 in favor of the bill. All 57 who voted against the package were Republicans.

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Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., chair of the House appropriations committee, praised H.B. 7691, or the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022, for protecting Ukraine's democracy while strengthening national security at home.

"For nearly three months now, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's greed, growing aggression and unyielding pursuit of power have led to a grievous loss of life and humanitarian devastation," she said following the vote in a statement.

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"Given the magnitude of the terror campaign being waged against the Ukrainian people and Ukrainian democracy, we are morally obligated to ensure Ukraine has the security and economic aid they need."

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The package includes $6 billion in assistance for training, equipment, weapons and logistics support as well as $8.7 billion to replenish U.S. stocks of military equipment that President Joe Biden's administration has already sent.

More than $5 billion is included to alleviate global food insecurity, $3.9 billion for European Command operations, $900 million allotted to refugee support services for arrivals from Ukraine and nearly $14 billion for the State Department to aid Kyiv.

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Tuesday's vote came after Biden called on Congress last month to authorize more aid for Ukraine.

"The House took a critical step today in sending a clear, bipartisan message to Ukraine, to Russia and the world that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their democracy against Russian aggression," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement late Tuesday.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said earlier Tuesday that the chamber would "move swiftly" to pass the legislation.

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"This is essential to helping the Ukrainian people as they continue fighting back against Putin's aggression," he tweeted.

The Republicans who voted against the bill voiced disapproval over the speed with which it was approved.

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Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, complained on the House floor that he hadn't had a chance to see what the legislation included and forced a vote to adjourn that failed.

"Why don't we have a debate on the floor of the people's House instead of the garbage of getting a $40 billion bill at three in the afternoon, not paid for, without having any idea what's really in it?" he asked.

"We got $40 billion that is unpaid for and you want to sit here and lecture this body about what we're going to do or not do about standing alongside Ukraine?"

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., published a four-minute video to Twitter and explained that his "no" vote was mainly over the price tag and Biden's position on Ukraine.

"When Vladimir Putin sent his Russian armies into invade Ukraine in February of this year, we knew that was unlawful and it was criminal in nature and it was going to be a violent conflict. We also didn't know, however, that we would be paying so much and we would be experiencing so much pain," he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi argued from the floor that they should be proud of the opportunity to help in a fight between democracy and dictatorship.

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"The Ukrainian people are fighting the fight for their democracy and for ours as well," she said. "We must help them win so that we can have bread for the world and feed the hungry, so we can stop the horrible behavior that they are doing ... trafficking women and girls."

The vote was held after Pelosi led the first official U.S. delegation of lawmakers to Ukraine this month to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky, who thanked the House on Wednesday for passing more aid.

"We are looking forward to consideration of this important document for us by the Senate," he tweeted.

Since Russia began the war on Feb. 24, more than 3,400 civilians have been killed and the United Nations estimates that roughly 6 million Ukrainians have fled their country.

The packaged approved by the House on Tuesday follows Biden signing a $1.5 trillion spending bill in March that included $13.6 billion for Ukraine.

Scenes from Ukraine: Destruction, atrocities and mourning

Priest Andrii Gavalin presides over the funeral of Eugene Bogdanov, 35, in Bucha, Ukraine, on May 10. Bogdanov went missing two months ago. His wife, Natalia Bogdanova, was searching for him throughout the Kyiv and Bucha regions when his body was found at a morgue in Belaya Tserkov on May 9. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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