US Senate OKs $858B Defense Act With Billions in Taiwan, Ukraine Aid
The US Senate has passed a record $858 billion in defense spending for 2023, authorizing billions in military assistance for Ukraine and Taiwan.
Passed by a vote of 83-11, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allocates $2 billion in military assistance to Taiwan annually until 2027.
American lawmakers also approved $800 million in additional security assistance for Ukraine.
The military aid for Taiwan aims to modernize the defense capabilities of the East Asian nation amid heightened tensions with China.
Beijing continues to claim the democratically-governed Taiwan as its territory.
Under the Taiwan Enhanced Resilience Act, US agencies are required to fast-track the processing of Taiwan’s weapons purchases and requests.
The NDAA also authorizes increased “regional contingency stockpile additions and support” of up to $100 million worth of munitions, Taiwan News reported.
“Taiwan’s democracy remains the beating heart to our Indo-Pacific strategy, and the depth and strength of our commitment to the people of Taiwan is stronger than ever,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Menendez said.
Earlier this month, the Taiwanese government confirmed facing delays in arms shipment from Washington of up to $19 billion due to “tight production in the US and changes in the international situation.”
More Aid For Ukraine
The additional assistance for Ukraine sees a $500 million increase over US President Joe Biden’s request early this year.
The defense budget is intended to help train, equip, and boost support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Moscow’s “brutal, illegal, and unprovoked war.”
“The Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative has helped to strengthen Ukraine’s military for many years, and since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February, it has continued to provide critical support for Ukraine in defending its sovereign territory – on land, at sea, and in the air,” Senator Rob Portman said.
“I’m proud to have led the effort in Congress to secure this crucial funding and will continue to do everything I can to ensure that the United States stands with Ukraine in their fight to secure a democratic, prosperous, and independent future.”