House

House passes four bills rebuking Russia and Belarus, supporting Ukraine despite some GOP opposition

The House passed four bills on Wednesday that seek to rebuke Russia and Belarus and support Ukraine as Moscow’s invasion draws close to the three-month mark.

The passage of the quartet of bills came one day after the House approved a $39.8 billion aid package for Kyiv, including billions of dollars in security assistance and millions for refugee support services. Congress has passed a number of bills related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict since the invasion began on Feb. 24.

The first bill, named the Isolate Russian Government Officials Act, seeks to make it the policy of the U.S. to exclude Russian officials from participating in meetings, proceedings and other activities in the Group of 20, Basel Committee for Banking Standards, Financial Stability Board, International Association of Insurance Supervisors and International Organization of Securities Commissions.

The bill passed 416-2, with GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) objecting to it. The text of the legislation says it seeks to exclude officials from Moscow “to the maximum extent practicable.”

The House also approved the Ukraine Comprehensive Debt Payment Relief Act, which calls for suspending multilateral debt payments owed by Ukraine, in a 352-56 vote. All votes against the measure came from the Republican Party, including Greene and Massie.

The legislation instructs the Treasury secretary to urge U.S. executive directors at international financial institutions — including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank — to advocate for the suspension of debt payments owed by Ukraine and concessional financial assistance for Kyiv. It also directs the secretaries of State and Treasury to help secure comprehensive debt repayment relief for Ukraine from other governments and commercial creditor groups.

The third bill, dubbed the Russia and Belarus Financial Sanctions Act, clarifies that foreign entities and individuals owned or controlled by U.S. institutions must comply with sanctions the Biden administration has imposed against Russia and Belarus.

The legislation passed in a 418-2 vote. Greene and Massie voted against the legislation.

The U.S. has slapped sweeping sanctions against Russia since it began its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, targeting Moscow oligarchs, banks and top officials, including President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. has also imposed sanctions on Belarusian individuals and entities.

Additionally, the House passed the Russia and Belarus SDR Exchange Prohibition Act, which would prohibit the Treasury secretary from taking part in transactions that involve the exchange of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) that are held by Russia or Belarus. It was approved in a 417-2 vote. Greene and Massie were the only “no” votes.

An SDR is an international reserve asset established by the IMF that is used as an accounting unit for IMF transactions among member companies. The value of an SDR is based on a combination of the U.S. dollar, euro, yuan, yen and British pound.

The legislation also calls on the Treasury secretary to “vigorously advocate” that IMF member countries disallow transactions involving the exchange of SDRs in the possession of Russia and Belarus and urge U.S. executive directors at international financial institutions to “oppose the provision of financial assistance to the Russian Federation and Belarus, except to address basic human needs of the civilian population.”

Tags Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Thomas Massie Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine war

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