WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today celebrated the signing of his Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act into law alongside his fellow co-sponsors, Senators John Cornyn, R-Texas, Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.. The act authorizes the President to enter military aid lend-lease agreements with Ukraine.
“Ukraine is becoming the frontline between freedom and tyranny. It will need our help for the long haul,” Sen. Wicker said. “I am glad to see that members of both parties were able to come together to enhance efficiency and flexibility in delivering aid to Ukraine. Now we need to take the next step and get Ukraine the weapons they need without delay.”
“An expedited lend-lease program for Ukraine will give them the upper hand against Russia, and I’m glad America could act as the arsenal of democracy for this critical partner,” said Sen. Cornyn. “Once law, this legislation will be a foundational piece of the U.S. response to Putin’s invasion, and I’m grateful to my colleagues in Congress and the Biden Administration for helping get this across the finish line.”
“The Ukrainian people have shown their determination and ability to fend off the ongoing, unprovoked and increasingly deadly attacks from Russia, but they need substantial materiel support from the United States and our allies to win this war,” said Sen. Cardin. “I was proud to join President Biden today as he signed our bipartisan bill into law. We must do all we can to bolster Ukrainian defenses and deliver needed resources. Innocent lives and democracy are at stake; we must prevail.”
“Putin’s war in Ukraine is the gravest security threat to our world order since World War II – when the lend-lease program was created. That’s why I worked across the aisle to renew the lend-lease program to meet the current crisis created by Russia. As Ukraine fights for its future – and the future of liberal democracies around the globe – delivering military equipment to the frontlines is paramount,” said Sen. Shaheen. “I appreciate the continued bipartisan determination to usher legislation through Congress to provide aid to Ukraine and punish Putin. But we cannot let up – more action is required as the military situation develops to ensure Ukraine has the resources it needs to defend itself, to address the full scope of the humanitarian crisis unfolding and to crush Putin’s ability to continue his campaign of violence.”
In addition, the legislation was 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.Va., 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 will be specific to Ukraine to help remove obstacles to lending arms to Ukraine. It will not create a new program but will streamline the President’s current authority to lend the defense articles necessary to defend civilian populations in Ukraine. In addition, this legislation will:
- 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.
- Remain in effect upon enactment for two years, with the possibility of Congress extending the authority if needed.