The United States House of Representatives approved a bill by a majority on Wednesday, which urges US President Joe Biden to sell the assets of Russian oligarchs affected by sanctions and use the funds to provide more military aid and humanitarian to Ukraine. The legislation is not binding but its approval with 417 votes in favor and 8 against reflects the desire for the president to adopt a more aggressive stance towards Russia, as reported by ‘The New York Times’.
The bill’s passage comes a day after Attorney General Merrick B. Garland told the Senate that the administration would ask Congress for greater authority to seize and liquidate Russian assets. “We would support legislation that would allow some of that money to go directly to Ukraine,” Garland said Tuesday.
Representatives Tom Malinowski, a Democrat, and Joe Wilson, a Republican, who have sponsored the legislation that has passed, have argued that the Biden administration should sell the seized luxury goods and divert the proceeds to Ukraine. “Can we imagine returning all of Russia’s wealth — the yachts, the bank accounts, the villas, the planes — to Putin and his cronies while the Ukraine lies in ruin, while the Ukrainians bury their dead? that. We will not do it,” Malinowski said in the House of Representatives. Initial attempts to enact the bill were stymied after lawmakers from the Foreign Affairs Committee and lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns that the legislation could run counter to legal protections for individuals. In response to concerns, lawmakers have watered down the bill, making it a non-binding resolution.