Ukraine aid bill heads to Seoul for Biden signing


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Ukraine’s $40 billion aid package as it tries to fend off Russian aggression hitches a commercial flight to South Korea to that it can be signed by President Joe Biden.

The Senate voted on Thursday to finalize new military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine as Biden heads to the South Korean capital, Seoul. Biden is in Asia for meetings with leaders of South Korea, Japan and members of the Indo-Pacific group known as the Quad.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment publicly, said the bill was being flown to South Korea by a government official American who was already planning to travel to the region on a commercial flight as part of the individual’s official duties. It was unclear when the bill would arrive, but the president was expected to sign it before traveling to Tokyo on Sunday.

For decades, bills that needed urgent signing were routinely sent by White House aides to the president if he was overseas.

In 2005, President George W. Bush returned to Washington from his Texas ranch to sign legislation requiring doctors to continue feeding a comatose Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, whose husband wanted her to die.

An autopen was first used for signing a bill in 2011, when President Barack Obama signed an extension to the Patriot Act while traveling in Europe.

He used the machine – which was widely used at the time for mundane business and government purposes – because Congress took a surprisingly long time to approve the renewal of this law. Its counterterrorism powers were minutes from expiring at midnight Eastern Time when Obama, France, was woken up to sign the measure.

The Ukrainian bill includes $20 billion in military aid that is expected to fund the transfer of advanced weapons systems, $8 billion in general economic support to Ukraine, nearly $5 billion in global food aid to deal with potential food shortages caused by the collapse of Ukrainian agriculture. the economy and over $1 billion in combined support for refugees.

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Fram reported from Washington