May 09, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, celebrated President Joe Biden signing their Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act into law. The bipartisan legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously and the House of Representatives 417-10, authorizes the President to enter into lend-lease agreements with Ukraine to provide military equipment to protect civilians, and mirrors the "Lend-Lease Act" from World War II, which gave Europe weapons to fight Hitler.
“The people of Ukraine are inspiring the world by their courage in the face of increasing cruelty and mounting evidence of atrocities and war crimes committed by Putin’s military,” said Senator Collins. “Over and over again, they have proven their determination to fight for their country and protect their people from Russia’s unjustified invasion. As the ‘arsenal of democracy,’ the United States should do everything in our power to give the Ukrainians the tools they need to defend their freedom. This bipartisan legislation builds on Congress’ unified commitment to support Ukraine by reducing bureaucratic barriers and accelerating the transfer of weapons, military equipment, and other supplies. This additional lethal aid will place further pressure on Russia to bring an end to this terrible war.”
“Nearly a century ago, President Franklin Roosevelt established the United States as the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’ by signing the World War II Lend-Lease Act into law to give Europe the tools they needed to defeat Hitler,” said Senator King. “Today, as another brutal dictator with ambitions of an empire wages war against a sovereign neighbor, the United States has stepped up to support democracy and its brave fighters in Europe. The bipartisan Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act gives the President the authority he needs to strengthen our already effective military aid to Ukraine. It sends a loud message to the rest of the world that the U.S. believes Ukraine can win this war, and that the free world stands united against Putin’s heinous actions. I’m glad the President has cemented our role as a defender of democracy, and will continue working to support the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom.”
As part of the Arms Export Control Act authority, the President can lend and lease defense articles to U.S. partners and allies when it is in the United States’ national security interest. However, current bureaucratic barriers and other limitations made these authorities impractical for the current crisis facing Ukraine. This enhanced lend-lease authority streamlines the President’s ability to lend the defense articles necessary to defend civilian populations in Ukraine and will require the President to establish expedited delivery procedures for any military equipment loaned or leased to Ukraine to ensure timely delivery to Ukraine.
Senators Collins and King, both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have forcefully condemned Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian sovereignty. They recently joined a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Poland and Germany where they met with NATO leaders, Ukrainian refugees, and U.S. servicemembers for a first-hand look at the humanitarian crisis and America’s efforts to support Ukrainians. Before Russia began its attacks, they cosponsored a resolution supporting the American partner in the face of Russian aggression and called for maximum intelligence sharing with Ukrainian officials. They also recently participated in a virtual conversation on the escalating threat posed by Russia in Eastern Europe with Ambassadors from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland.