: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Bill in support of Ukraine approved in both houses of U.S. Congress


The U.S. House of Representatives late on Thursday, December 11, approved bill H.R.5859, which repeats the text of bill S.2828 “Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014” adopted by the Senate on the same day.
The vote in the lower house took place between 22.00 and 23.00 local time, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
A source close to legislative processes in the U.S. Congress told Ukrinform that on Thursday afternoon the Senate finally passed bill S.2828 and that Congressmen in the House of Representatives resorted to the procedure when, repeating the text of the document, they introduced a new bill, H.R.5859, which was unanimously agreed upon and adopted at the end of the day.
Bill H.R.5859 is entitled “To impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation, to provide additional assistance to Ukraine, and for other purposes.” Its appearance in the lower house of the Congress removed the need for lasting procedures of approval in the committees of bill H.R.5782, similar in content, which was introduced last week by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.
According to available information, some changes were introduced to the final wording of the document, after all approvals in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In particular, the provision on granting Ukraine the Major Non-NATO Ally status was removed from the document, with a remark that this issue is the prerogative of the U.S. presidential administration. In addition, the wording on sanctions against Russia was slightly amended. On the other hand, the document provides for the allocation of $350 million in military support to Ukraine, including in the form of defensive arms supplies.
Under the procedure, for the document to be finally approved it has to be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama. According to the law, the head of state is given a limited time for this purpose, otherwise the document is deemed vetoed.
Meanwhile, local observers note that unanimous support for the bill in the Senate and the House of Representatives most likely means that the decision was preliminarily agreed upon with the White House.

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