Republican and Democratic members of US Congress introduced legislation on Thursday that would make it easier to finance Ukraine’s fight against Russia using seized and frozen Russian assets.
Congress has approved more than $100 billion in military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022. While leaders of both parties insist the support remains strong, some members of Congress have questioned how long that level of aid will last amid calls to cut government spending.
Supporters of the bill said their intent was to ensure that Moscow pays for the damage, not American taxpayers.
Senator Jim Risch, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the sponsor of the bill, has claimed that more than 300 billion dollars of Russian sovereign assets have been frozen worldwide.
The Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives gives the US president the power to seize frozen Russian assets in the States and transfer them to Ukraine for aid. It will also prohibit the release of funds to sanctioned Russian entities until Moscow withdraws from Ukraine and agrees to reparations for war damages.
Other Republican sponsors of the bill include Michael McCall, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and Joe Wilson, Thomas Kean, and Brian Fitzpatrick. Democratic co-sponsors include Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Marcy Kaptur, co-chair of the Ukrainian Caucus in Congress, as well as Reps. Steve Cohen and Mike Quigley.