On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed legislation that would authorize giving Ukraine an additional $40 billion in financial support as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine drags on.
This new legislation previously passed Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, CNBC reported, and deepens the U.S.’s commitment to Ukraine at a time of uncertainty as the Russian invasion enters its fourth month.
Ukraine has successfully defended its capital city of Kyiv as the Russian military refocuses its forces in the country’s eastern regions. Reportedly, American officials are warning that the Russian invasion could drag on for even longer.
The $40 billion aid package is intended to provide support for Ukraine through September and is considerably larger than an earlier emergency financing package that approved $13.6 billion.
Of the $40 billion, $20 billion is allocated for military assistance, ensuring the Ukrainian military has access to advanced weapons that will be used to slow the Russian military’s offensives; $8 billion is being allocated for general support of the Ukrainian economy; $5 billion will be used to address “global food shortages” that may arise from the recent collapse of Ukraine’s agricultural industry; and, more than $1 billion will be used to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees.
Biden signed the spending package while in the middle of his trip to Asia. According to a White House official, a separate U.S. official brought a copy of the unsigned bill on a commercial flight to Seoul for Biden to sign.
The fact that Biden signed the spending bill while abroad reflects the U.S.’s growing sense of urgency to continue providing support for Ukraine while overlapping international challenges pressure the president. While the Biden administration is reportedly working to reconfigure policy to confront China, it also is working to redirect American resources to accommodate Ukraine amid the largest conflict in Europe since World War II.
While on his trip to Asia, Biden also signed an unrelated measure intended to increase access to baby formula while supplies remain scare in the U.S. This legislation is said to allow government benefits from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — also known as WIC — to be used to buy more types of infant formula.
According to Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, the Biden administration knew that a baby formula shortage was imminent as early as this past February.