Republican Georgia Rep. Rich McCormick introduced legislation on Wednesday that would allow the U.S. to use frozen Russian assets to reimburse itself for aid to Ukraine, according to a copy of the bill exclusively obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Approximately $330 billion in Russian-related assets has been seized and frozen by the U.S. and NATO allies, as part of a larger effort to impose sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, the bill states. McCormick’s proposal, called the “Make Putin Pay” Act, would allow the Biden administration to use these frozen assets to reimburse the U.S. for its ongoing aid to Ukraine, and also to support future aid without using taxpayer dollars.
“[This bill] does a few things. It takes the Russian threat very seriously, it’s punitive [and] it means we’re all in on doing the right thing,” McCormick told the DCNF. “And at the same time, it doesn’t increase our debt… this takes the assets that were frozen and uses it against the Russian war efforts.”
“This uses their own funds to basically purchase munitions and weaponry to stop [Russian] aggression directly,” McCormick said.
The bill notes that the U.S.’ share of the frozen assets would first be used to pay back debt incurred from foreign aid to Ukraine, which currently totals roughly $100 billion. Any remaining funds would then be used to support future aid to Ukraine, rather than use taxpayer funds to do so, as the notion has increasingly lost support from members of Congress.
President Joe Biden has the authority to use the frozen Russian assets to reimburse the U.S. or fund Ukraine’s war effort, according to the bill. McCormick told the DCNF that Biden hasn’t taken decisive action to do so because he is scared of being too aggressive with Russia.
“A lot of people are intimidated by ‘big, bad Russia,’” McCormick told the DCNF. “I mean, this president has been around politics for 50 years. I think he’s somewhat intimidated by the idea of Russia and doesn’t want to agitate them.”
McCormick noted that, as a world leader, Biden’s handling of the Russia-Ukraine war has been poor from the start of the conflict in February 2022, and attributed his faltering “mental faculties” as part of the reason why.
“Joe Biden doesn’t do a good job of anything because he just doesn’t have the mental faculties to make a good case,” McCormick told the DCNF. “He’s not able to make a good case – certainly not an authentic, genuine, real case for why we should be supporting Ukraine, but that doesn’t take the onus off of us to do the right thing.
“In fact, it just makes me have to step up and do his job for him,” McCormick said.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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