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 Headlines

in Local

Lawyer for Lac Megantic Victims to Sue Canadian Railroad

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

A lawyer for 41 of the 47 people killed in Canada when an oil train derailed says he's going to sue a Canadian railroad that declined to participate in the settlement fund.

in Local

Biologists: Invasive Plant at Maine, New Hampshire Border


Biologists in Maine and New Hampshire say they have confirmed discovery of an invasive plant in a body of water on the border of the two states.

in Local

Maine Has Fewest Residents on Food Stamps Since 2009


Maine health and human services officials say the number of state residents enrolled in the food stamps program has dropped below 200,000 for the first time in more than six years.

in Local

Memorial Service to be Held for Crew Member Aboard El Faro

el faro

A memorial service is being held for a Maine man who was a crew member on a cargo ship that sank in Hurricane Joaquin.

in Local

Police: Portland Man Arrested After Armed Bank Robbery

Portland Police Station

Police say a Portland man armed with a handgun robbed a bank_ the latest in a rash of eight bank robberies in the city since May.


  • 46m
  • 1h
  • 1h
  • 3h
  • 5h
  • 5h
  • 6h