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)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Cosby to be deposed in sexual abuse lawsuit


Bill Cosby was expected to testify under oath in a lawsuit brought by a woman accusing the veteran comedian of sexual abuse.

in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: Biopic ‘Steve Jobs’ competes against ‘Pan,’ ‘The Walk’


Here's a look at the movies set to open nationwide this weekend.

in Viral Videos

WATCH: Soldier breaks rank to hug daughter at homecoming


Top brass at a Colorado Army post are all smiles after a 2-year-old girl interrupted a general's speech to dash across the room and hug her dad, who had just come home from a nine-month deployment.

in Entertainment

‘Ant-Man’ sequel and three more Marvel movies are coming


The superhero universe will add three more as of yet unnamed movies by 2020.

in Entertainment

Carlton says there won’t be a ‘Fresh Prince’ reboot


Alfonso Ribeiro is adamant there will never be a TV reboot of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," because no one can take the place of their "cornerstone" James Avery.