Leahy supports Ukraine aid bill but wishes it included money for COVID

Sen. Patrick Leahy-File photo
Sen. Patrick Leahy-File photo(Tom Williams | AP)
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 11:05 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (WCAX) - Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy says while he’s glad the U.S. House approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine, he’s disappointed the bill didn’t include any money for the COVID pandemic.

The House on Tuesday approved the Emergency Supplemental for Ukraine and Global Food Aid with wide bipartisan support.

If the Senate passes the bill, it will add to the $54 billion the U.S. has already committed to Ukraine’s battle against invading Russia.

The bill would give Ukraine military and economic assistance, help regional allies, replenish weapons the Pentagon has shipped overseas and provide $5 billion to address global food shortages caused by the war’s crippling of Ukraine’s normally robust crop production.

Leahy says Ukraine needs our support without delay, so he’s urging the Senate to pass the bill as soon as possible. But he says without new funding, the U.S. won’t have what it needs to fight COVID.

In a statement, Leahy, D-Vermont, said, in part: “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.”

Leahy says he will continue to fight for the resources in the coming weeks.

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