Gerlach stands united with Ukraine
Congressional Ukrainian Caucus Co-Chairman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) voted in favor of legislation on Thursday that would provide vital financial aid to Ukraine and impose financial and travel sanctions on Russia for blatantly violating international law and Ukraine's sovereignty by forcibly seizing control of Crimea.
The House voted 399-19 to pass H.R. 4278, the proposed Ukraine Support Act. Earlier Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a similar aid package for Ukraine.
Gerlach said he hopes both chambers can soon send a bipartisan bill to the President's desk. He issued the following statement after the House vote.
"Today's vote reaffirms our unwavering support for the people of Ukraine as they rebuild their economy, restore a democratic system of governance with increased transparency and accountability, and respond to the grave threat Russia's military invasion of Crimea poses to the security of not only Ukraine, but the entire region. We must also firmly and clearly signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and all those responsible for fomenting violence and unrest in Ukraine that their reckless and destabilizing behavior will have consequences. This legislation is one way to achieve that goal. And it's my hope that Congress and President Obama will continue to keep the pressure on Russia by taking additional steps to end the ruthless Russian fuel-supply monopoly. Allowing U.S. natural gas exports to Ukraine and other NATO allies would foster greater economic independence and bolster security in the region. A stronger, independent, democratic Ukraine enhances the security of the United States and our European allies and I'm determined to stand united with Ukraine and its citizens during these challenging times."
Specifically, the House bill passed Thursday would:
*Authorize $50 million in aid to Ukraine, plus $8 million for efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s law-enforcement capabilities and assist in eliminating human rights abuses and $10 million for combating Russian propaganda with Radio Free Europe broadcasts.
*Freeze assets and ban travel to the U.S. by any Russian officials, close associates or family members as well as anyone who has significantly undermined democratic processes; committed serious human rights abuses in Ukraine; violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity; been involved in significant acts of corruption, including misappropriation of Ukrainian assets; been involved in Russia’s arms sector; or been complicit with or responsible for significant corruption in Russia.