Leahy REAX On House Passage of the Emergency Supplemental for Ukraine and Global Food Aid

After weeks of negotiations, I am glad that tonight the House passed the emergency supplemental funding bill to provide emergency humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.  Importantly, this supplemental also begins to address the escalating global hunger crisis that is trailing in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war.

The bill provides $40.1 billion – $7.1 billion more than what the Administration requested – in critical military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.  This includes $8.5 billion in additional drawdown authority to continue to supply the Ukrainians with the necessary tools they need to defend themselves and more than $5 billion in global food aid.

Although the horror being inflicted within Ukraine’s borders cannot be understated, this conflict will spark a far-ranging humanitarian crisis.  Tens of millions of tons of wheat, barley, maize and vegetable oil produced by Ukraine – one of the region’s breadbaskets – remains trapped in ports.  This will lead to rising prices and exacerbating an already escalating global hunger crisis.  This bill will go far in addressing these urgent needs.

I am disappointed that the bill does not include desperately needed funding to address the ongoing COVID pandemic.  Without new funding, the Administration has repeatedly warned that we will not have the necessary vaccines, therapeutics, and tests to prepare for a surge in cases in the fall and into the winter.  Nor does it include essential assistance to provide vaccines and therapeutics to other countries.  We cannot allow complacency to be the enemy of progress in defeating this virus, and as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee I will continue to fight for these urgently needed resources in the coming weeks.

However, the crisis in Ukraine needs our support without delay, and I strongly urge the Senate to take up and pass this bill as soon as possible.

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