Biden signs Ukraine arms lend-lease bill

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Law360 (May 9, 2022, 8:48 p.m. EDT) — President Joe Biden on Monday signed the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, a bill intended to make it faster and easier for the United States to send weapons in Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. country, calling it an “important tool” to help counter “Putin’s brutal war”.

The US House of Representatives in April the past bill, which effectively revives a rental program last used in World War II, on a vote of 417 to 10 after it was approved by the Senate.

Under the new law, the administration can loan or rent equipment to Ukraine, which is resisting Russia’s recent invasion, or to other Eastern European allies affected by the invasion, with the nominal promise of later payment—effectively allowing the donation of equipment—and without requiring specific congressional approval.

“I want to thank the members of Congress here for getting this bill passed and everyone who supported the bill. And the bill demonstrates that support for Ukraine is critical at this time,” he said. Biden said in the Oval Office before signing the bill. “Every day the Ukrainians are paying with their lives and they are fighting – and the atrocities that the Russians are committing are simply unimaginable. And the cost of fighting is not cheap, but giving in to aggression is even more expensive . That’s why we’re staying in there.”

Specifically, the new lend-lease law suspends a requirement that loaned equipment be returned within five years and another that requires reimbursement of related costs, such as depreciation or broken equipment.

It also waives the requirement to submit every lease or loan project to legislators for approval, while obliging the administration to establish procedures for expedited delivery of such loaned or leased equipment. The streamlined authority under the law would expire at the end of fiscal year 2023, with the ability to be extended by Congress if deemed necessary.

The last time a similar program was used was during World War II, after the Lend-Lease Act was enacted in March 1941, allowing the United States to send military items to allies. , starting with Britain and eventually expanding to include more than 30 countries between 1941 and 1945.

Indeed, the equipment was largely given to these countries, sent in exchange for a “consideration”, which usually did not mean a monetary payment but rather something like a cooperation agreement on joint action at the future, according to a US State Department. program history.

–Additional reporting by Daniel Wilson. Editing by Rich Mills.

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