WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), in conjunction with U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, today introduced the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act, legislation to provide additional assistance to Ukraine using assets confiscated from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation and other sovereign assets of the Russian Federation.
“Over a year into Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, more than $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets remain frozen globally,” said Risch. “Given Russia’s brutality and continued war crimes against the Ukrainian people, it is only right that Russian government funds in the United States be seized and repurposed to help Ukraine rebuild its country. The REPO Act will help us do just that. I hope our Senate colleagues will join Senator Whitehouse and I in this important effort.”
“It will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild Ukraine’s economy after its people beat back Russia’s murderous and brutal invasion; it only makes sense that Putin’s Russian regime should foot that bill,” said Whitehouse. “The bipartisan REPO Act would ensure the United States—as the lynchpin of the transatlantic alliance—can take a leadership role in making that happen.”
“The decision to launch the unprovoked war of aggression in Ukraine was Russia’s and Russia’s alone – so Putin must pay,” said McCaul. “Sadly, we’ve seen time and again the Biden administration play a weak hand and is too eagerly make major concessions in negotiations with our adversaries, including over Iran’s nuclear program, the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, and in the lead up to sitting down with the CCP. Therefore, Congress must act to prohibit the administration from trading away Russian state assets before they can be used to compensate Ukraine and to carve out a much-needed path for the U.S. to work with our allies to use these funds for reconstruction. I am proud to support this bill which is not only critical to ensuring justice for Ukraine and being good stewards of U.S. taxpayer dollars, but also sends a powerful deterrent signal to other adversaries that if they want to continue to trade in dollars, euros and yen, they cannot launch unprovoked aggression.”
“Responsibility for the senseless and brutal war being waged against Ukraine lies with Russia alone. It must be Russia that shoulders responsibility for rebuilding Ukraine in the aftermath,” said Kaptur. “The spirit and determination of the Ukrainian people remains unbroken, but the dams, hospitals, schools, courts of law, and neighborhoods decimated by Russian tanks and bombs will require time and resources to emerge from the ashes. The Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity (REPO) for Ukrainians Act will ensure Russia bears the cost of returning Ukraine to her full glory, while guaranteeing that the Ukrainian people can truly prosper in their hard fought Liberty.”
The Senate version of the REPO Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). The House version of the REPO Act was introduced by U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Thomas Kean Jr. (R-N.J.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.).
Text of the legislation can be found here.