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What happens now? When will the weapons reach Kiev? – First post

Vaseline 2 months ago

In a surprising show of bipartisan unity, the Republican-majority House of Representatives approved a $95 billion foreign aid package that would go to several U.S. allies. Ukraine is expected to benefit most from the aid if it is disbursed.

Here we look at what the bill proposes, and what the next step is in the proposed legislation’s journey to becoming law.

The aid bills, passed during a rare Saturday session of the House of Representatives, are primarily aimed at supporting Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies amid global conflict.

$61 billion in aid for Ukraine

The lion’s share of the proposed aid is earmarked for Ukraine, to support the ongoing fight in the war with Russia.

The centerpiece of the aid package is the allocation of $60.84 billion specifically for the Ukrainian conflict. This substantial amount includes $23 billion to replenish U.S. weapons and supplies and to upgrade military facilities so that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the ongoing war.

Ukraine Russia war news
Three years after the war between Russia and Ukraine, Kiev is feeling the pressure on its weapons inventory. Reuters

The vote in the House of Representatives

The approval of the Ukraine aid bill was remarkably quick and decisive, with a final vote of 311 to 112. Democrats unanimously supported the bill, while the Republican camp showed division. Nevertheless, a significant number of Republican members supported the bill, underscoring a strong bipartisan consensus despite strong objections from far-right factions within the party.

Then the Senate

The House has approved Biden’s funding request, which was first made in October as Ukraine’s military supplies were depleted. This was the biggest hurdle that had to be overcome before the request could be granted.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for a vote. Senate Majority Leader Democrat Chuck Schumer announced that the Senate will begin procedural votes on the package on Tuesday. Reportedly, some provisional votes are scheduled for that afternoon. Final passage is expected sometime next week.

Smooth passage expected in the Senate

The bill is expected to have smoother passage in the Democratic-majority Senate. At this point, Schumer has already set the stage for a quick response and has scheduled procedural votes for the following Tuesday. He also strongly advocated for the relief, noting of the House proposal: “Our allies around the world have been waiting for this moment.”

Senate Minority Leader Republican Mitch McConnell also expressed support for the relief package, praising the House’s action and recognizing the urgency with which the Senate must now act. “The task before us is urgent. It is once again the Senate’s turn to make history.” McConnell emphasized that he is preparing to counter any remaining opposition within his party.

The bill has long been expected to pass in the Senate due to the Democratic majority and general bipartisan support for aid to Ukraine. Historical precedents also favor the passage of the bill. The Senate had approved a similar measure in February. The big difference from the current proposal is that $10 billion of the Ukrainian aid is labeled as a repayable loan, an amendment intended to appease some Republicans.

Presidential signature to pass bill into law

Once the Senate passes the bill, it will go to President Joe Biden for his signature. The president has ten days to sign or veto a bill. However, Biden has expressed his intention to sign the bill immediately upon arrival on his desk, concluding the legislative process.

Joe Biden news
President Joe Biden has pledged to sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his desk. Reuters

The government is also reportedly preparing to roll out the next aid package for Ukraine after the bill becomes law, to quickly address the urgent battlefield needs expressed by the Ukrainian military.

Rapid delivery of weapons to Ukraine

Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said the U.S. military is capable of moving critical munitions and defense systems to Ukraine within days of congressional approval.

The rapid deployment of aid to Ukraine is made possible by the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows for the immediate withdrawal of military assets from U.S. stockpiles. These stockpiles, strategically located both in the US and European bases, are ready to ship items such as ammunition and air defense components that Ukraine urgently needs.

For example, the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma, a key facility, is ready to ship large quantities of ammunition, such as 155mm howitzer rounds – critical to Ukraine’s artillery needs. In addition, storage facilities in Europe can quickly ship ammunition and other military supplies to Ukraine, significantly reducing delivery times and supporting the ongoing military effort against Russian forces.

Forecast in Kiev

The approval of the aid package was received with enthusiasm in Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his gratitude and optimism in his evening speech following the news from the US. “Today we received the decision we expected: the American aid package we fought so hard for,” Zelensky said. He further elaborated on the impact of the aid: “And it is a very important package that will be felt by our soldiers on the front lines, but also by our cities and towns suffering from Russian terror.”

The urgency for more air defense is a recurring plea from Ukraine, which wants to protect its civilian population against escalating attacks on its infrastructure.

With input from authorities