Four Republicans, four Democrats vote ‘no’ on bill urging Biden to confiscate assets from sanctioned oligarchs
Eight House lawmakers voted against a largely symbolic bill on Wednesday that urges President Biden to confiscate assets from sanctioned Russian oligarchs and use the funds to support Ukraine.
The legislation, dubbed the Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act, passed in a 417-8 vote.
The lawmakers who voted against the bill are among the most liberal and most conservative members of the House.
Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) voted against the bill.
The Hill reached out to the lawmakers for more information on why they did not support the legislation.
The bill, which is nonbinding, urges Biden to seize and confiscate assets belonging to foreign individuals whose wealth was in part acquired “through corruption linked to or political support for the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and with respect to which the President has imposed sanctions.”
Assets that have a value higher than $2 million and belong to Russian energy companies or foreign individuals whose wealth is tied to the Kremlin would be subject to the bill. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a sponsor of the bill, said the legislation would confiscate luxury villas, yachts and airplanes belonging to Russian oligarchs and companies that have been sanctioned by the U.S.
According to the bill, the U.S. would then hold, use, administer, liquidate or sell the seized assets. The bill urges the liquidated funds to be used “for the benefit of the people of Ukraine,” including post-conflict reconstruction in the country, humanitarian aid, assistance for Ukrainian security forces, and support for refugees and refugee settlement in the U.S. and other countries.
Additionally, the bill suggests that liquidated funds be used for technology items and services to help guarantee the free flow of information to individuals in Ukraine and combat Russian censorship.
The legislation also proposes that some liquidated funds go toward humanitarian and development assistance for Russian individuals, including programming and monitoring that pertains to democracy and human rights.
The bill urges the creation of an interagency working group, led by the secretary of State, to determine how the U.S. can seize and confiscate assets of foreign individuals with links to Russia.
A similar bill of the same name has been introduced in the Senate.
The House’s passage of the legislation comes one day after Attorney General Merrick Garland at a congressional hearing said that “we would support legislation that would allow some of that money to go directly to Ukraine,” referring to the Asset Forfeiture Fund.
He noted, however, that such a situation is “not the current circumstance with the fund.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is currently in its third month, after beginning on Feb. 24. The U.S. and other countries have sanctioned a number of individuals amid the conflict, including top Russian officials, banks and Putin himself.
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