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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pelosi Floor Speech on S. 3522, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022

April 28, 2022
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of S. 3522, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022. Below are the Speaker's remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. Madam Speaker, thank you for the recognition. I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I thank our distinguished Mr. Wilson for his yielding as well.

I'm so pleased that this legislation has such strong, bipartisan support on the Floor of the House. To remove all doubt in anyone's mind that we are all committed as a nation, as a Congress, to - and House and Senate, in terms of this legislation. I thank you both for your leadership. I appreciate what you said, Mr. Chairman, about your working with your Ranking Member, Mr. McCaul, on this important issue as well. So thank you very much for affording us this opportunity today.

Madam Speaker: 81 years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came here to the Congress of the United States, to the House of Representatives - where I'm proud to say my father, Thomas D'Alesandro, served as a Member of Congress - and President Franklin Roosevelt delivered a bold and historic request.

In his 1941 State of the Union address, President Roosevelt explained that democracy itself, democracy itself was under direct - was under dire threat, not only in Europe, but around the world. And he called on Congress to lend a hand to our allies overseas: bolstering their defenses so they can defeat the evils of fascism. It was this initiative that would be enacted just two months later - then undeniably turned the tide of the Second World War. And the Lend-Lease program would help propel the Allies to a victory that preserved the promise of democracy for generations to come.

Today, we see an echo of that [chapter] in history, as a murderous tyrant seeks to conquer its neighbor and dismantle its democracy. At this moment - and this moment demands we summon a commitment response - a commitment to respond.

The Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 revives this pivotal program, waiving time-consuming requirements on the President's authority to send critical defensive resources to Ukraine. It's important to note that it's about time. Time is very important when lives are at stake. In doing so, we enable - the Administration will move faster to bolster Ukraine's security forces: empowering them to repel the Russian invaders, protect innocent civilians and preserve their cherished democracy. As war rages in Ukraine, every minute matters. It's about time. This strong action could mean the difference between lives saved and lives lost. In any given battle, it could be the margin between victory and defeat.

It is with astonishing unity that the Senate sent us this important legislation after passing it with a unanimous vote. And as we hope to secure a strong bipartisan vote here in the House, let us salute the leaders of this legislation, Chairman Gregory Meeks, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He acknowledged his Ranking Member, Mr. McCaul, from Texas. Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who is managing the bill on the Republican side today. And Congressman Steve Cohen, who helms the Helsinki Commission and played a role in this legislation.

Madam Speaker, restoring the Lend-Lease authority is just the latest action proudly taken by this Congress to strengthen Ukraine and to decimate Russia. We have delivered billions in humanitarian, security and economic assistance for Ukraine, including the $13.6 billion in the latest supplemental. And more to come, as our President has put forth a request earlier today that we will turn into legislation - turn in - to support - to support democracy in Ukraine and, therefore, democracy in the world. I salute the President for his leadership.

These resources are already - of the 13.6 - are already reaching communities on the ground and helping Ukraine repel Russian forces. But we need to do more. As we prepare to take up the President's new supplemental request, we are moving in lock-step with the Administration and our allies to isolate Russia and devastate its economy. From severing normal trade relations, to banning the import of Russian energy, our strong actions in the House and Senate have made Russia weaker in every way. And the House took the first steps to prosecute Russian war crimes, so the perpetrators can be held accountable for their unthinkable, grotesque, diabolical atrocities.

Later today, with the blessing of the Embassy of Ukraine, we will unveil in the Speaker's Dining Room - we invite people, our Members to come and their guests - a photo exhibit that captures many of these atrocities. These haunting photographs show the horror and heartbreak of Russia's callous aggression [against] Ukraine and serve as an important reminder of our moral duty to continue to take swift, decisive action to help.

Going back to Lend-Lease, upon the enactment of the historic Lend-Lease law in March of 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt called upon the conscience of our country when he declared: 'The light of democracy must be kept burning. It is not enough for us merely to trim the whip or polish the glass. The time has come where we must provide the fuel in ever increasing amounts to keep the flame alive.'

Madam Speaker, our task today remains the same. I do want to acknowledge, also, another item - and thank you so much Mr. Leader - Mr. Chairman and others for your support of this. We are doing Lend-Lease today. We talked about what we did in the omnibus bill, the $13.6 - the supplemental - the $13.6 billion. We talked about severing our purchase of oil. We've talked about severing our trade - normal trade relations. But we also did something yesterday, when we did what I call 'seize and freeze.' Seize the assets of the oligarchs and the Russian - that money. Freeze it. And when it thaws, to use that money to help rebuild - help rebuild Ukraine after the victory over the Russians.

So again, we are thinking of what we need to do in humanitarian assistance, what we need to do in economic assistance, what we must do in security assistance - weapons, et cetera. But we have to do some other aspects as well.

Our task today, again, remains the same as it did with the original Lend-Lease. Make no mistake: Russia invaded with the stated goal of ending liberty and self-governance in Ukraine. Yet, with unimaginable courage and determination, the Ukrainian people are putting their lives on the line for democracy - not only for their own nation but for democracy writ large for the world.

This is about freedom versus dictatorship. Autocracy versus democracy. The Ukrainian people are making the fight for all of us. We must help them.

So it is our duty to honor their heroism at the front lines of the battle for freedom by helping to fuel this righteous fight. It is with endless admiration for the Ukrainian people and their leadership - President Zelenskyy, just everybody, I won't start naming names, all of them, we have had visits from so many of them - and an unyielding commitment to keeping alight democracy's precious flame, I urge a strong bipartisan 'aye' vote for this vital legislation.

With that, I thank the gentleman for yielding and yield back the balance of my time.

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