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Pingree Votes to Further Support Ukraine with Revival of WWII-Era Defense Program

The bipartisan, bicameral Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act would expedite the transfer of defense systems to Ukraine

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan, bicameral bill to further support Ukraine amid Russia’s deadly invasion. Modeled after a World War II-era program, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, introduced in the Senate by Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), allows President Joe Biden to supply Ukraine more efficiently with defense systems to protect civilians. The legislation unanimously passed the Senate in early April. 

“Hospitals, maternity wards, schools—Putin’s wrath has spared no one in his unjust, bloody war in Ukraine. For more than two months, President Zelenskyy has pleaded for help—and Congress, President Biden, and our allies across the world have responded, delivering billions in security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine as they defend their people,” Congresswoman Pingree said. “Still, their fight continues, and we must do more to supply assistance as quickly as possible. Reviving the game-changing lend-lease program will allow the United States to send weapons and other supplies to Ukraine much more efficiently and quickly.”


As part of his Arms Export Control Act authority, the President can currently lend and lease defense articles to U.S. partners and allies when it is in the United States’ national security interest. However, bureaucratic barriers and other limitations make these authorities impractical for the current crisis facing Ukraine. 

This enhanced lend-lease authority would be specific to Ukraine to help remove obstacles to lending arms to Ukraine. It would not create a new program but would streamline the President’s current authority to lend the defense articles necessary to defend civilian populations in Ukraine. In addition, this legislation would:

Require the President or his designee to establish expedited delivery procedures for any military equipment loaned or leased to Ukraine to ensure timely delivery to Ukraine; and remain in effect upon enactment for two years, with the possibility of Congress extending the authority if needed.



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