Joe Biden signs legislation approving $40 billion in aid to Ukraine and improving access to baby food while in Asia

On Saturday, President Joe Biden signed legislation that would allow Ukraine to provide Ukraine with an additional $40 billion in financial aid as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine drags on.

This new legislation was previously passed by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, CNBC reportedand deepens US engagement with Ukraine at a time of uncertainty as the Russian invasion enters its fourth month.

Ukraine has successfully defended its capital, Kyiv, while the Russian military is concentrating its forces on the country’s eastern regions. American officials are reportedly warning that the Russian invasion could drag on for longer.

The $40 billion aid package is expected to support Ukraine through September and is significantly larger than a previous emergency funding package that approved $13.6 billion.

Of the $40 billion, $20 billion will go to military aid to ensure the Ukrainian military has access to advanced weapons used to slow Russian military offensives; $8 billion will be allocated for general support of Ukrainian economy; $5 billion will be used to address ‘global food shortages’ that could result from recent collapse of Ukraine’s agribusiness; and more than $1 billion will be used to provide aid to Ukrainian refugees.

Biden signed the spending package in the middle of his Asia trip. According to a White House official, a separate US official brought a copy of the unsigned bill on a commercial flight to Seoul for Biden to sign.

The fact that Biden signed the spending bill abroad reflects a growing sense of US urgency to continue supporting Ukraine amid overlapping international challenges pressure the president. While the Biden administration is reportedly working to reconfigure politics to confront China, it is also working to redirect American resources to accommodate Ukraine amid Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.

During his trip to Asia, Biden also signed an independent measure aimed at increasing access to baby food while US supplies remain tight. This legislation is intended to allow government benefits from the Special Complementary Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children – also known as WIC – to purchase additional types of infant formula.

According to Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, the Biden administration knew as early as last February that a baby food shortage was imminent. Joe Biden signs legislation approving $40 billion in aid to Ukraine and improving access to baby food while in Asia

Laura Coffey

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