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Biden signs foreign aid bill providing crucial military assistance to Ukraine


President Joe Biden signed into law an aid package Wednesday providing crucial military assistance to Ukraine, capping months of negotiations and debate.

The aid package, passed by the Senate Tuesday evening and worth a total of $95 billion, includes nearly $61 billion in aid to Ukraine, $26 billion to Israel and $8 billion to the Indo-Pacific. The package also includes a bill that could eventually lead to TikTok being banned in the United States – giving Chinese parent company ByteDance about nine months to sell it, or else it will be banned from US app stores .

Wearing a U.S.-Ukrainian flag pin and speaking from the White House after signing the bill Wednesday, Biden said it was “a good day for America, a good day for Ukraine and a Good day for world peace.

The aid package, Biden said, “is going to make America safer.” It will make the world safer. And that perpetuates American leadership in the world.”

The signing of the aid package was the culmination of months of tense negotiations, personal lobbying by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and a split in the House Republican conference that continues to threaten the president’s leadership position of the House, Mike Johnson. Hardline House conservatives opposed any new U.S. funding to kyiv and threatened to oust Johnson over his handling of the negotiations. Conservatives in Congress have opposed additional aid for what they see as an unwinnable war.

Biden spent months pressuring Johnson to move forward with aid to Ukraine, enlisting senior administration officials and CIA Director Bill Burns to lay out the stakes for Ukraine – and, ultimately, for democracy in Europe and around the world – if Russia continues to make inroads in its military. countryside there.

Earlier this year, Biden signaled his intention to make significant concessions on immigration if Congress were to move forward with the aid bill. Congressional Republicans had demanded those concessions but backed away from the issue after former President Donald Trump signaled his opposition to allowing Biden to claim a victory on an issue Trump hopes to campaign on.

He acknowledged the rocky road to passing the package in his remarks on Wednesday.

“It’s been a difficult road,” Biden said. “It should have been easier. He should have arrived sooner. But in the end, we did what America always does: we rose to the occasion, we stood together. We did it.

Spending most of his speech talking about aid to Ukraine, Biden noted that Russia was “responsible for a brutal campaign against Ukraine.”

“They killed tens of thousands of Ukrainians,” Biden said, “bombed hospitals…kindergartens, grain elevators, and tried to plunge Ukraine into a cold, dark winter “.

But what’s left unsaid in that statement is likely to cause more frustration from Biden’s left flank: Israel has also been accused of targeting hospitals in Gaza, using hunger as a weapon of war and waging an imprecise military campaign that killed dozens of people. thousands of Palestinians, many of them children. The aid package includes billions of dollars in additional military equipment for that country.

Some of the Democrats who voted against the bill cited aid from Israel as the reason they voted against it.

The final vote in the Senate was 79 to 18. Fifteen Republicans voted against the bill, with two Democrats and one independent. Among the senators who voted against the bill was Sen. Bernie Sanders, who spent time with Biden earlier this week and came out against additional U.S. funding of Israel’s war in Gaza.

“Enough is enough,” Sanders said in a post on X shortly after the bill passed. “More money for (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu’s war machine.”

The effects of the bill will be felt most quickly and harshly on the battlefields in Ukraine, whose soldiers have faced ammunition shortages and battlefield casualties in the absence of the aid American this year.

Biden said shipments of military supplies to Ukraine would begin “in the coming hours” and would include air defense equipment and ammunition for artillery and rocket systems, as well as armored vehicles.

The Pentagon announced a billion-dollar aid package to Ukraine just moments after Biden signed the bill.

Among the capabilities included in the new package are munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), artillery shells, RIM-7 and AIM-9M air defense missiles, combat vehicles d Bradley infantry, Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and much more. It also includes various logistics and tactical vehicles, anti-armor systems, training ammunition and spare parts, and small arms ammunition, including .50 caliber rounds to counter drones.

CNN reported Tuesday that administration officials told Congress the United States would send the military Long-Range Tactical Missile Systems, or ATACMS, a system Ukraine has long requested. ATACMS were not on the official list of equipment sent by the Pentagon to Ukraine, although this is not entirely unusual; Last year, when the United States proposed a particular variation of ATACMS, the administration did so quietly.

An official told CNN at the time that the intention to remain silent was to surprise Russia, lest it move its weapons out of missile range before Ukraine could use them.

Last fall, the United States first sent Ukraine the medium-range variant of the ATACMS missile system, which can reach about 100 miles, while the longer-range version can reach 190 miles. Ukrainian officials have asked the United States, both privately and publicly, for the long-range missile to target deeper behind Russian lines. U.S. officials resisted, citing Moscow’s supplies and provocation as excuses.

Sen. Mark Warner, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that ATACMS should be quickly dispatched to Ukraine.

“By getting this additional equipment as quickly as possible, I hope that once this gets to the president by Tuesday or Wednesday, these expeditions will literally be launched with this longer range ATACMS,” he said .

Biden’s campaign will still use TikTok to reach voters, officials say, even though Biden signed the potential ban.

This decision highlights the difficult dynamics of the platform, which is owned by a Chinese company. Although national security officials, including those in the Biden administration, have warned of its risks, the policy remains extremely popular with young Americans, whom Biden will count on for re-election.

When asked Wednesday whether the campaign would continue to use the app, an official said yes.

“A fragmented media environment requires us to show up and meet voters where they are – including online,” the official said. “TikTok is one of many places we ensure our content is seen by voters. When the stakes in elections are this high, we’re going to use every tool at our disposal to reach young voters where they are. We use enhanced security measures.

Biden joined Tiktok earlier this year and often posts videos meant to contrast his policies with those of Trump, who is not on the platform.

The bill signed by Biden on Wednesday gives TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, 270 days to sell TikTok. Failure to do so would result in significant consequences: TikTok would be banned from US app stores and the “internet hosting services” that support it.

This would effectively limit new downloads of the app and interaction with its content. Biden’s decision to sign the bill Wednesday sets the deadline for a sale at January 19, 2025. Under the legislation, however, Biden could extend the deadline for another 90 days if he determines the progress made by the company toward a sale, giving TikTok potentially up to a year before facing a ban.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

CNN’s Haley Britzky contributed to this report.

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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class. After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim. Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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