Congress is weighing two bills on Wednesday that could send billions in aid to Ukraine and place a hold on U.S. energy purchases from Russia.
Representative Salud Carbajal sat down with KSBY via Zoom to explain what is at stake.
The first bill, the congressman explained, is a $1.5 trillion government funding omnibus bill. Included in the bipartisan bill is roughly $14 billion in support for Ukraine.
"It provides funding for food and medicine and health care for the Ukrainian people. Economic assistance. Humanitarian assistance," Rep. Carbajal said. "And it provides military assistance in the form of weapons so that they have the equipment and weapons and the munitions that we need to be able to thwart [...] this unprovoked Russian invasion by Putin."
The bill includes funding that would support the 100,000 American troops currently stationed in Europe.
"It's a big deal," Carbajal said.
The congressman said Ukraine, a sovereign, democratic country, is facing an unprovoked invasion by Vladimir Putin.
"And since [Ukraine is] not a member of NATO, the United States is doing everything with our NATO allies to de-escalate this war," Carbajal continued, "[providing] the type of sanctions that are crippling to Putin and Russia. So that he retreats."
The United States' sanctions have targeted the Russian economy.
"We're trying to avoid sending American troops, men and women into Ukraine. That is not something we want to do," Carbajal said.
Carbajal, a Marine veteran, said that he understands the line the United States is trying to walk, as the U.S. government applies pressure to Russia without sending American troops into combat.
The second bill on the table is the "Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act."
"[It] will stop all purchases of energy products from Russia—oil, liquid natural gas and coal," he said.
The vote comes one day after President Joe Biden announced an executive order to place an embargo on all oil imports from Russia.
The impact high gas prices are having highlights another issue, Carbajal says: U.S. dependence on outside energy.
"In light of these rising oil prices, we're reminded that we shouldn't be in this situation in the future," the congressman said. "And I think we need to double down in making sure we're investing in renewable energy, [so] that we don't find ourselves in [this] situation again."