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Shaheen, Cornyn, Cardin & Wicker Praise House Passage of Lend-Lease Bill for Ukraine

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed her bipartisan legislation to provide the President with the enhanced authority to more swiftly enter into lend-lease agreements directly with Ukraine and Eastern European countries, and expedite the delivery of military equipment required by Ukraine to defend against the Russian military invasion.

Shaheen introduced the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act with Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) in January. It will now be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Every lever must be pulled to help Ukraine defend itself against Putin’s campaign of terror, which is slaughtering innocent civilians and reaping destruction across Ukraine. I’m encouraged to see the number of bipartisan bills clearing Congress to that end, which now includes my legislation with Senator Cornyn to expedite the process of moving military equipment to the frontlines,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue to work across the aisle in support of our Ukrainian partners and to hold the Kremlin accountable for its crimes against Ukraine. The U.S. must continue to lead the global response to assist Ukraine and in fierce opposition to Putin’s tyranny, which is targeting Ukraine today and continues to pose a threat to liberal democracies around the world.”

“Ukrainian forces have demonstrated unbelievable strength and bravery, and we must again serve as the arsenal of democracy and ensure they have the full range of resources necessary to defend their sovereignty,” said Senator Cornyn. “This legislation will be a game-changer for Ukraine, and I’m grateful to my House colleagues for recognizing its importance and quickly sending it to the President’s desk.”

“Democracy and the sovereignty of an independent nation are at risk as Ukraine does all it can to fend off the unprovoked and deadly assault from Russia,” said Senator Cardin. “As the United States continues to support Ukrainian defenses, I’m proud of the bipartisan, bicameral support our bill received to streamline the president’s ability to further bolster Ukraine’s defenses, defend innocent civilians and protect our frontline NATO allies who may be Putin’s next targets. Ukraine must prevail against this horrific Russian aggression.”

“We should be doing everything possible to assist our courageous friends in Ukraine, especially as Russia launches a new phase of attacks,” said Senator Wicker. “Enhancing our ability to loan and lease military equipment to Ukraine is essential to helping Ukraine fight back. I am glad to see the House recognize how important this measure is. Congress has done its job, and I urge President Biden to sign this bill immediately.”

As part of the Arms Export Control Act authority, 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 would be specific to Ukraine and Eastern European countries to help remove obstacles to lending arms. It would not create a new program, but would streamline the President’s current authority to lend the defense articles needed by Ukraine and Eastern European countries and expedite the delivery of defense articles to Ukraine. This enhanced authority would remain in effect through fiscal year 2023.

Senator Shaheen has led action in the U.S. Senate in support of Ukraine in response to Vladimir Putin’s belligerence, which also threatens the stability and security of Eastern Europe and NATO allies. Last month, Shaheen and members of the Senate Ukraine Caucus met with Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, and members of the Ukrainian Parliament. In February, Shaheen led a successful bipartisan effort with Portman to pass a resolution that conveys a renewed and overwhelmingly bipartisan message from the U.S. Senate in fierce support of Ukraine. Earlier this year, Shaheen and Portman led a bipartisan delegation to Ukraine, where they met with President Zelenskyy and members of his administration. As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, she supported the inclusion of $13.6 billion in security assistance that was part of government funding legislation signed into law by President Biden.

Senator Shaheen has long led efforts in the Senate to hold Russia accountable for its malign activity against the U.S. and its allies. Because of her role as a negotiator on Russia sanctions legislation known as “CAATSA” and her successful efforts to ban Kaspersky Lab software from operating on U.S. systems, Shaheen was sanctioned by the Kremlin in 2017. Before the Shaheen-Portman congressional delegation visit to Ukraine in January, Shaheen led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, last June.