WASHINGTON — Congress spoke with one voice on Thursday against Russia’s annexation of Crimea, passing legislation in the House and Senate giving help to cash-strapped Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Russia.
The Senate approved the legislation by voice vote at the same time the House was passing a different version on a 399-19 vote.
The votes were a show of solidarity with President Barack Obama, who had already announced sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and others. The president spent several days rallying U.S. allies to stand firm against Putin’s aggression.
Lawmakers intended to get a final measure to the White House by day’s end.
The Senate bill would provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy and would authorize assistance for democracy, governance and civil society programs and enhanced security cooperation.
The measure also would sanction those who are responsible for human rights abuses against anti-government protesters and those responsible for undermining the peace and sovereignty of the Ukraine.
Targeting Russia, the bill also would freeze assets and revoke visas of Russian officials and their associates who are complicit in or responsible for significant corruption in Ukraine.
“Putin’s cronies should recognize that Putin may not be the right horse to be betting on any longer,” Menendez said.
The Senate bill authorizes $50 million in assistance to Ukraine for such things as improving democratic governance and anti-corruption efforts; supporting free and fair elections in Ukraine; and bolstering democratic institutions and civil society organizations.