The paper claims US lawmakers are objecting to the proposal as it has not been vetted by the relevant committees
A number of US Republican lawmakers in both the Senate and the House of Representatives have reportedly spoken out against handing forfeited Russian assets to Ukraine. They cited procedural irregularities as the reason, and also called into question the effectiveness of the proposed measure, the Washington Post reported Friday.
The outlet, citing unnamed “people involved with the negotiations,” claimed that the dispute centers on a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report. If approved, this would allow the US government to funnel the proceeds of frozen Russian property to Kiev.
The document is expected to be passed by both chambers of Congress following the midterm elections on November 8, the paper said.
According to the Post, Republican senators took issue with the fact that the contentious provision has not been reviewed by the House and Senate judiciary committees.
Speaking to the outlet, an anonymous Republican Senate aide also expressed skepticism as to the overall effectiveness of the measure.
“Seizing [Russian billionaire] Oleg Deripaska’s yacht isn’t going to change [President Vladimir] Putin’s behavior,” the official was quoted as saying.
The aide went on to clarify that the Republicans are “all for supporting Ukraine” and hence advocate measures aimed at “making sure oil price caps work to punish Russia” instead.
The anonymous source’s comments were echoed by Laura Peavey, a spokesperson for Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee. She revealed to the Post, however, that despite broad opposition to the provision, it had already been passed by the House with bipartisan support.
Democrats have slammed the Republicans’ objections, with an unnamed party staffer quoted by the Post as saying: “It is unconscionable Senate Republicans are obstructing an important provision that would allow the DOJ to transfer forfeited Russian assets to assist Ukraine and its effort against Russia’s brutal war.”
In early March, soon after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the creation of ‘Task Force KleptoCapture’, citing holding “accountable corrupt Russian oligarchs” as one of its objectives.
Since then, the US and several other Western nations have seized billions of dollars’ worth of assets owned by Russian tycoons, with luxury yachts, mansions and jets among them.
Washington itself has shelled out some $17.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine over the past eight months.
Questions are being raised as to whether the Biden administration would be able to continue with the same spending pattern should the Republicans secure a majority in both chambers of Congress following the upcoming midterm elections.
Sections of the GOP have voiced criticism of what they see as overly generous financial support being provided to Kiev by the current administration.