4 in House GOP, 4 Progressives Vote ‘No’ on Russian Oligarch Asset Seizure

4 in House GOP, 4 Progressives Vote 'No' on Russian Oligarch Asset Seizure 4 in House GOP, 4 Progressives Vote 'No' on Russian Oligarch Asset Seizure The House of Representatives in Washington. (Marcos Souza/Dreamstime)

By Eric Mack | Wednesday, 27 April 2022 09:10 PM

A House bill passed by a 417-8 landslide Wednesday urging President Joe Biden to seize assets from sanctioned Russian oligarchs, but it was the eight ''no'' votes that made strange bedfellows.

Four staunch conservatives and four progressives voted against the Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act.

The bill called for the seizure of assets of Russian oligarchs and using the funds to provide aid to Ukraine amid Russia's invasion.

The nonbinding resolution passed overwhelmingly, but did not get support from conservative Reps. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.; Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; Thomas Massie, R-Ky.; or Chip Roy, R-Texas. The progressive Democrats who joined them are Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

The act would target those who acquired wealth and assets greater than $2 million "through corruption linked to or political support for the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and with respect to which the president has imposed sanctions," according to The Hill.

"It is long past time that Putin's cronies, who have amassed wealth on the backs of the Russian people, pay for their complicit role in Putin's crimes against humanity," Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., a co-sponsor of the bill, wrote in a statement.

"There is no better use for the liquidated, ill-gotten wealth than rebuilding and humanitarian efforts in democratic Ukraine. I can only hope that its passage today represents some semblance of justice for the people of Ukraine."

The liquidated assets would then be used "for the benefit of the people of Ukraine," including reconstruction, humanitarian aid, assistance for Ukraine's defense and support for refugees and resettlements.

"It is hard to imagine giving Russia's wealth back to Putin while Ukraine lies in ruin and Ukrainians are burying their dead," Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., a co-sponsor of the bill, wrote in a statement. "Under these extraordinary circumstances, the international community should be prepared to use Russia's frozen assets to rebuild the country Russia is destroying."

The Senate has bipartisan support for the act, too.

"Dictators like Putin care only about themselves and their cronies," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., wrote in a statement. "It is long past time for all the Russian oligarchs – Putin's partners in crime – to lose their yachts, luxury apartments, and their assets and pay a price for being part of a thuggish group – a nation-state that really is a mafia-state.

"I want to see the Department of Justice, Treasury, and law enforcement partners go in and take apartments, fine art, and seize yachts from a bunch of thugs and crooks. I want to put money on the table to have more weapons for Ukraine to fight. This is a good beginning on the long journey to push back against Putin and his misadventures."

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