The bill approved by the Senate late on April 6 provides enhanced authority for Biden to enter into agreements with Kyiv to lend or lease defense items to Ukraine to protect civilian populations from the Russian military invasion, as well as for other purposes, without having to heed export regulations that can slow the process down.
In presenting the legislation, called the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer referred to the killings of civilians in Ukraine as "pure evil," adding that Russian troops were carrying out a "genocide" in Ukraine.
"When we murder wantonly innocent civilians because of who they are, whether it be their religion, their race, or their nationality, that is genocide, and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is guilty of it," Schumer said.
The lend-lease program was last used during World War II, when the United States provided assistance to allied countries that fought against Nazi Germany, mostly to the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Many historians say it helped tip the balance of the war in favor of the allies.
The bill must still be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Biden.