H.R. 4278: Ukraine Support Act

H.R. 4278

Ukraine Support Act

Sponsor
Rep. Ed Royce

Date
March 27, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Thursday, March 27, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4278, the Ukraine Support Act, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4278 was introduced on March 21, 2014 by Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.  The bill was marked up by the Committee on March 25, 2014 and was ordered reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4278 includes provisions that support Ukraine’s sovereignty and sanction those who have sought to undermine its independence and stability.  The bill also includes several reporting requirements. H.R. 4278 authorizes a total of $68 million in discretionary funding, which is fully offset by a reduction in authorized assistance for Pakistan.

Support provisions in H.R. 4278:

  • Supports democracy and civil society in Ukraine by improving transparency, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts and strengthens political organizations and protects independent media as Ukraine prepares for free and fair elections in May.  Authorizes the President to use $50 million that was appropriated in FY2014 to carry out these efforts.
  • Provides a sense of Congress that $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees recently approved by Congress should be used to promote government, banking, and energy sector reform, as well as anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine.
  • Provides for a surge in targeted broadcasting by requiring Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America to increase broadcasts in areas where access to uncensored information is especially limited, especially eastern Ukraine (including Crimea).  Authorizes the use of up to $10 million that was appropriated in FY2014 to carry out these provisions.
  • Encourages the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)[1] to prioritize investments in Ukraine.
  • Authorizes the use of $8 million that was appropriated in FY2014 to assist Ukraine in 1) strengthening law enforcement capabilities to improve protection of human rights; and 2) maintaining the rule of law by developing a robust, independent, impartial judicial system.
  • Enhances U.S. security cooperation among NATO states in Central and Eastern Europe through military training, exercises, and the exchange of defense articles.
  • Calls for U.S. efforts to enhance Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities, including through a review of U.S. security assistance to that country.
  • Provides expedited assistance to the Government of Ukraine to identify and recover assets stolen from the Government of Ukraine or linked to corruption by former officials, including Viktor Yanukovych.
  • Encourages the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development[2] to increase investments in Ukraine and cease new investments in Russia.

Sanctions in H.R. 4278:

  • Codifies existing Executive Orders sanctioning individuals involved in the violence in Ukraine or who undermine the independence, sovereignty or territorial or economic integrity of Ukraine.  This includes the most recent Executive Order, which allows for sanctions against broad sectors of the Russian economy.
  • Calls on the President to sanction those individuals, within and outside the Russian government who wield significant influence over the formulation and implementation of Russian foreign policy, including Russian oligarchs.  The sanctions include asset freezes and visa bans.
  • Authorizes the President to impose additional, targeted sanctions against anyone who has engaged in significant acts of corruption, including misappropriation of Ukrainian assets, or has provided material support to anyone involved in such activity.
  • Requires the Administration to carefully scrutinize banks, especially Russian banks, to determine if they are involved in the plundering of Ukraine’s assets; money laundering, terrorist or proliferation financing, or actively helping to skirt sanctions; or helping to annex Crimea.
  • Urges the President to expand the list of Russian officials sanctioned for gross human rights violations under the Magnitsky Act.
  • Calls for temporary suspension of all activities and meetings of the NATO-Russia Council.[3]

Reporting Requirements in H.R. 4278:

  • Requires annual reports to Congress on security developments in Russia and their effects on Ukrainian sovereignty.
  • Instructs the President to provide to Congress a determination of whether Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty.[4]
  • Requires a report to Congress on impacts of increased U.S. natural gas and oil exports on Russia’s economic and political influence over Ukraine and other European countries.
  • Amends the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act to require the President to provide to Congress a plan to expedite implementation of the Act.


[1] “[OPIC] is an independent U.S. government agency that seeks to promote economic growth in developing and emerging economies through the mobilization of private capital, in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. OPIC is often referred to as the U.S. government’s development finance institution (DFI).”  Shayerah Ilias Akhtar, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation: Background and Legislative Issues, Congressional Research Service (Sep. 25, 2013) at 1.

[2] “The (EBRD) is an international financing institution established in 1991 to support the emergence of market economies in Central and Eastern Europe following the collapse of the former Soviet Union; it is owned by 64 member countries in both Europe and worldwide, the EU, and the European Investment Bank. The [US] is a founding member of the EBRD and the largest contributor after the EU institutions and EU member states combined; the U.S. Treasury Secretary sits on the EBRD’s board of governors. The EBRD invests mainly in private sector enterprises, usually together with commercial partners, and helps mobilize foreign direct investment into the countries in which it operates.”  Kristin Archick & Derek E. Mix, The United States and Europe: Responding to Change in the Middle East and North Africa, Congressional Research Service (June 12, 2013) at 25.

[3] “The principal institutional mechanism for NATO-Russia relations is the NATO-Russia Council (NRC), established in May 2002, five years after the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act provided the formal basis for bilateral cooperation.”  Jim Nichol, Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests, Congressional Research Service (Mar. 7, 2014) at 45.

[4] “The [U.S.] and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) on December 8, 1987. . . .  The [U.S.] and Soviet Union agreed to destroy all intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear-armed ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles, which are those missiles with a range between 300 and 3,400 miles. The launchers associated with the controlled missiles were also to be destroyed.”  Amy F. Woolf, Paul K. Kerr, & Mary Beth D. Nikitin, Arms Control and Nonproliferation: A Catalog of Treaties and Agreements, Congressional Research Service (July 15, 2013) at 7.

Background

On February 22, 2014, former President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev as a result of protracted conflicts between antigovernment protestors and Ukrainian security forces in which up to 100 people were killed.[1]  The origin of the conflicts can be traced to the former President’s decision to suspend plans to sign an Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU), which would have included a free trade zone, in favor of economic support from Russia.[2]  An interim government was installed and elections are expected to be held in May of 2014.[3]  On March 21, 2014, Ukraine’s interim government and the EU signed portions of the AA dealing with political issues.[4]  Portions of the AA dealing with economic issues are expected to be signed once the new Ukrainian President is elected.[5]

Subsequent to Yanukovych’s departure, Russia condemned Ukraine’s new interim government as illegitimate and dispatched Russian Federation forces to seize the Crimea peninsula in Ukraine’s eastern region.[6]  Crimea’s Parliament held a referendum on Crimea’s future on March 16, 2014 that “was allegedly approved by 96.77% of those voting, with a turnout of 83.1%”; and on March 18, Russia annexed Crimea.[7]  Ukraine, the United States, the E.U. and others denounced the vote as illegal and criticized Russia’s actions as a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and of international law.[8]



[1] Steven Woehrel, Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy, Congressional Research Service (Mar. 24, 2014) at 1-2.

[2] Id.

[3] Id. at 4.

[4] Id. at 5.

[5] Id.

[6] Id. at 4.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 4278 will have “insignificant effects on direct spending and revenues over the 2014-2024 period.”

Additional Information

House Foreign Affairs Committee: Differences between House & Senate Ukraine Bill

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.