News

Congress steps into action on Ukraine

Congress steps into action on Ukraine

UKRAINE: Demonstrators call on the U.S. to take measures against Russia's recent actions in Ukraine, in front of the White House in Washington March 6. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill backing $1 billion in loan guarantees for Ukraine, the first formal response by U.S. lawmakers to the worst crisis in U.S.-Russia relations since the Cold War.

The measure passed in a 385-23 vote.

The U.S. Senate is expected to consider a similar bill next week. If passed as expected, it would be sent to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign into law.

House and Senate committees held hearings on Thursday at which administration officials testified about the situation in Ukraine following Russia’s military incursion into its Crimea region.

Obama ordered sanctions on people responsible for Moscow’s military intervention on Thursday, including travel bans and freezing of their U.S. assets. But Republicans said he has not done enough and that what they called his weak foreign policy had emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the administration had made a mistake by “thinking that someone like Putin reacts to warmth and charm and reachout.”

“What he really reacts to is weakness and I think he has seen that in our foreign policy efforts over the course of this last year,” Corker continued.

Republican lawmakers – and many Democrats – in both houses of Congress urged Obama to do more.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a symbolic resolution responding to Russia’s military incursion into Crimea. That measure condemns the violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia, while calling for sanctions on Russian officials and state agencies.

“This resolution is one part of a larger effort to provide assistance to Ukraine and to impose real costs on Russia for its actions, which this committee is working on,” U.S. Representative Ed Royce of California, the committee’s Republican chairman, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Bill Trott)

Latest Stories

in Viral Videos

School announces snow day with ‘Let It Go’ parody

Fresh
22-overlay5

Who needs robocalls when you can declare school closures through song?

in National

Blizzard hits the northeast, New York spared its brunt

Fresh
A man walks out of an ocean front house covered in ice during a winter blizzard in Marshfield, Massachusetts January 27, 2015.

As New York and New Jersey lifted travel bans, Massachusetts braces for more snow.

in National, World

World leaders join last survivors in recalling Auschwitz

Members of Polish Scouting Association from Canada and U.K. place a lit candle at block 15 in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz in Oswiecim January 26, 2015.

World leaders joined Auschwitz survivors at the site of the former Nazi death camp to mark 70 years since its liberation by Soviet troops.