During a four-day trip to meet with South Korea's newly elected president, President Joe Biden signed two pieces of legislation into law, including a $40 billion spending bill for Ukraine, and a measure to ease the baby formula shortage.
The first bill, H.R. 7691, enjoyed overwhelmingly bipartisan support in Congress. It appropriates $20 billion for military assistance, $8 billion for general support to the Ukrainian economy, $5 billion to address global food shortages, and $1 billion for refugees fleeing the conflict. The bill dwarfs the earlier US aid package which totalled $13.6 billion.
Currently, the Russian military is struggling to keep an offensive alive in the eastern region of Ukraine. Fighting has been pushed into the Donbas region, farther away from the capital of Kyiv.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the weapons and funding will help, but criticized world leaders for not offering such high levels of support prior to the conflict.
"If we had obtained in the first week of the war what we are receiving today, it would have been much more useful for Ukraine and the cause of freedom in Europe," Zelensky said Tuesday. "And if we obtain now what some of our partners plan to transfer to Ukraine in coming weeks, it would help save the lives of thousands and thousands of people."
The other bill, H.R. 7791 — appropriately titled Access to Baby Formula Act of 2022 — allows greater access to baby formula production and lifts restrictions on the industry to spur production. H.R. 7791 also passed with overwhelming support in the House of Representatives in a 414 - 9 vote.
Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. Scott unpacked the bill's goal in a statement.
"The Access to Baby Formula Act will grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the authority to waive certain requirements so that vulnerable families can continue purchasing safe infant formula with their WIC benefits during extenuating circumstances, such as a public health emergency or supply chain disruption," he said. "The bill will also ensure that WIC participants are better protected during a product recall."