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Biden signs Ukraine aid, TikTok ban bills after Republican battle

WorldBiden signs Ukraine aid, TikTok ban bills after Republican battle


US President Joe Biden signed a hard-fought bill into law on Wednesday that provides billions of dollars of new aid to Ukraine for its war with Russia, notching a rare bipartisan victory for the president as he seeks re-election and ending months of wrangling with Republicans in Congress.

“It gives vital support to America’s partners so they can defend themselves from threats to their sovereignty,” Biden said.

Biden also signed a separate bill tied to the legislation that bans TikTok in the United States if its owner, the Chinese tech firm ByteDance, fails to divest the popular short video app over the next nine months to a year.

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TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi said on Wednesday the company expects to win a legal challenge to block the legislation that would ban the app used by 170 million Americans.

“Rest assured – we aren’t going anywhere,” he said in a video posted moments after Biden signed the bill that gives China-based ByteDance 270 days to divest TikTok’s US assets. “The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail again.”

The social media platform is particularly popular with left-leaning young Americans, a group crucial to Biden’s victory in November.

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Biden, a Democrat who is expected to face Republican former President Donald Trump in the November election, has pressed lawmakers for six months to approve more funding for Ukraine, which has been fighting a full-scale Russian invasion for more than two years.

Trump objected to the Ukraine aid, and some Republicans in Congress refused to back it.

That ended when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives abruptly changed course and approved four bills that included funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other US partners in the Indo-Pacific on Saturday.

Biden and House Speaker Mike Johnson held intense talks about Ukraine in February and the president has both pleaded with Republicans to back the package and scolded them for not doing so.

Johnson, who faces calls by some right-leaning Republicans to oust him for his turnaround on aid, met with Trump in Florida earlier this month; the former president said Johnson was “doing a really good job”.

Ukraine gets US military aid boost, but faces long slog as Russians advance

The US Senate followed the House on Tuesday evening, passing a sweeping bill that provides US$61 billion in aid to the country, which has suffered setbacks in the war that supporters blame on the delay in getting the additional US funding.

“Congress has passed my legislation to strengthen our national security and send a message to the world about the power of American leadership,” Biden said in a statement after the Senate vote on Tuesday.

“We stand resolutely for democracy and freedom, and against tyranny and oppression.”

He said he would sign the bill on Wednesday.

Heather Conley, an expert on European affairs, said the victory for US allies and for Biden was tempered by effects that the delay has had for Kyiv on the battlefield.

“This is a strong message of American leadership at a time of enormous instability, but the delay created cracks in that credibility,” said Conley, president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

“As we start rolling into the election, that credibility will continue to be under close scrutiny.”

Biden has argued that he helped restore US credibility on the world stage after Trump’s tumultuous four-year tenure, in part by strengthening the Nato alliance and providing a united front against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump has argued for an “America First” policy and has threatened to let Nato allies fend for themselves if they do not increase their defence spending.

Ukraine, West laud US aid package, as Russia warns of ‘further ruin’

Biden’s administration is already preparing a US$1 billion military aid package for Ukraine, the first to be sourced from the bill, two US officials told Reuters.

Republicans who backed the aid package said it was not a vote for Biden but a reflection of their party’s values.

“Peace through strength. That’s our tradition,” Senator Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska, said in a Senate speech.

“To my Republican colleagues and friends in the Senate, our tradition is much more serious. It’s prouder. And I will tell you this: it’s much more supported by the American people. Peace through strength, not American retreat.”



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