U.S. Representatives Zach Nunn (IA-03) and Steve Cohen (TN-09) introduced a bipartisan resolution on Wednesday, the Protect Taxpayers and Defeat Russia Act, advocating that frozen Russian funds – rather than more U.S. taxpayer dollars – be used to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“Putin and his oppressive regime alone are responsible for the murderous destruction in Ukraine,” Rep. Nunn said. “Actions have consequences, so they alone should likewise be responsible for the costs of their unprovoked war. The United States should be leaders in the global political landscape stating forcefully that frozen funds from the Russian oligarchy should cover the costs to protect American taxpayers.”
Russia first began their crusade into Ukraine in 2014 in Crimea, and in 2021, took their efforts to a full invasion of the country. Two years since they launched their war, more than 70,000 Ukrainians have died and 120,000 have been injured. The U.S. has sent nearly $135 billion in taxpayer funding to support the Ukrainian people – more than enough to give $3,000 to each Ukrainian citizen.
“Russia must pay for the damage it has caused in its unprovoked war against Ukraine,” Rep. Cohen said. “We cannot allow Russia’s actions to go unpunished and, while we must help Ukraine rebuild in any way we can, the cost of rebuilding should fall primarily on the aggressor. Rebuilding efforts will require international cooperation and coordination, and it is wise to have these conversations sooner rather than later.”
In February 2022, the U.S., the European Union, and Japan froze more than $300 billion in assets from the Russian Central Bank. Rather than utilizing this funding, the Biden Administration recently requested an additional $24 billion in taxpayer money to be sent to Ukraine in emergency funding for defense, energy, humanitarian assistance, security, and to support their economy.
The resolution introduced by Rep. Nunn, who has served in the U.S. Air Force for twenty years and previously served as a counterintelligence officer leading operations in Russia, urges the U.S. government to protect taxpayer dollars by utilizing the frozen Russian assets to force Russian to pay for their own war.
Text for the resolution can be found here.