Rushing Baby Formula supplies, Helping Ukraine and Punishing Russia

To amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to establish waiver authority to address certain emergencies, disasters and supply chain disruptions, and for other purposes. (HR 7791) – In response to the recent nationwide shortage of infant formula, Congress passed a bill authorizing $28 million to fund emergency supplies and to address the potential for future shortages due to emergencies, disasters or supply chain disruptions. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) on May 17. It passed in the House on May 18 and unanimously in the Senate on May 19. It is currently awaiting signature by the president.

Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 (S 3522) – This legislation was introduced on Jan. 19, by Rep. John Cornyn (T-TX). It passed in the Senate on April 6, the House on April 28, and was signed into law by President Biden on May 9. The bill waives certain requirements that constrain the president’s authority to lend or lease defense articles intended for Ukraine’s government or other Eastern European countries affected by Russia’s war. For example, prohibiting a loan or lease period of more than five years. Furthermore, the president must establish procedures to ensure quick delivery of defense articles loaned or leased to Ukraine. The provisions of this bill are scheduled to terminate at the end of FY 2023.

Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (HR 7691) – Introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro on May 10, this bill authorizes $40.1 billion in emergency funding for U.S. agencies to aid Ukraine’s response to Russia’s invasion. The funding is available only through fiscal year 2022 (which ends Sept. 30). The appropriations are designed to provide defense equipment, migration and refugee assistance, support for nuclear power issues, emergency food assistance, economic assistance, and property seizures related to the invasion. U.S. agency recipients include the Department of Justice, the Department of Defense, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Agriculture and the Treasury Department. The bill passed in the House and Senate on May 19 and awaits the president’s signature.

Ukraine Comprehensive Debt Payment Relief Act of 2022 (HR 7081) – This bill is designed to advocate debt assistance for Ukraine among domestic and international financial institutions. Specifically, the legislation calls for an immediate suspension of Ukraine’s debt service payments to respective institutions, offering concessional financial assistance to Ukraine, and providing economic support to both refugees from Ukraine and to the countries receiving them. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jesus Garcia (D-IL) on March 17. It passed in the House on May 11 and is under review in the Senate.

Russia and Belarus SDR Exchange Prohibition Act of 2022 (HR 6899) – The purpose of this legislation is to prevent financial assistance to Russia or Belarus. Specifically, it prohibits the U.S. Treasury Department from making transactions that involve the exchange of Special Drawing Rights held by the Russian Federation or Belarus. Special Drawing Rights (SDR) are reserve assets contributed by member countries and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The act was introduced by Rep. French Hill (R-AK) on March 2. It passed in the House on May 11 and is in the Senate.

Isolate Russian Government Officials Act of 2022 (HR 6891) – Introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO) on March 2, this bill is designed to exclude Russian government officials from certain international meetings, such as the Group of 20, the Basel Committee for Banking Standards, and the Bank for International Settlements. The bill’s mandate is scheduled to end either within five years, or 30 days after the president has reported (to Congress) the end of the Russian-Ukraine war. The act passed in the House on May 11; it currently resides in the Senate.

Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act (HR 6930) – This bill would authorize a task force to identify legal actions that can be used to confiscate the assets of foreign individuals affiliated with Russia’s political leadership. The work group also is directed to report (to Congress) its recommendations for more energy-related sanctions on Russia’s government, as well as any additional authority the president can use to seize assets. The act was introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) on March 3. It passed in the House on April 27 and is under consideration in the Senate.