March 18, 2022

Event Recap: A Conversation with Congressional Leaders on Ukraine

As violence in Ukraine escalates under Russia’s unprovoked invasion, the implications to American values and economic and security interests grow by the day. On March 15, USGLC hosted a discussion with Congressman Colin Allred (D-TX-32), Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (R-IN-05), and foreign policy advisor Scott Jennings on the bipartisan support in Congress for Ukraine and the need to leverage America’s full diplomatic, economic, and security tools as the crisis in Ukraine continues to unfold.

Key Quotes from the Conversation

Rep. Colin Allred: “As Americans, we are the leaders of the free world. And we should step up and be a part of this. [. . .] The United States has always not just done a response to crises like this as a government response, but also as a private response through organizations or NGOs — also just individuals, starting their own fundraising. There are kids raising money, selling baked goods so they can help Ukrainians. It’s really inspiring, and I think it represents the best of who we are.”

Rep. Victoria Spartz: “I would share one thing with young people. I hope they’re going to get inspired and see what it takes to take freedoms back when you lose them. So hopefully our young people are going to value all of these freedoms they have as Americans, so then they don’t have to die for them.”

Scott Jennings: “One of the things this conflict has revealed is there is a bipartisan desire in Congress for people in both parties to retake congressional leadership as it relates to the historic role Congress has had in providing foreign policy leadership in times of crisis. I’m heartened to see Congress reestablishing itself, and not one party or the other.”

Watch the Full Conversation

Facts on the Impact of Russia’s Assault on Ukraine for Americans

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine serves as yet another vital reminder for Americans that what happens globally matters locally as they begin to feel the impact of the conflict in their daily lives.

  • Experts estimate the crisis’s economic aftershocks could increase inflation by as much as 2.8 percentage points, driving year-over-year price increases above 10 percent.
  • Ukraine and Russia account for nearly 29% of global wheat exports, and 15% of global corn exports come from Ukraine. Following Russia’s invasion, the cost of wheat, corn, and other agricultural outputs are up double digitsand prices have surged 20% since the beginning of the year.
  • In 2020, Russia was America’s third-largestsupplier of foreign petroleum. Today, Americans are paying almost a dollar more per gallon of gas than in early-2021, making it much more expensive to fill up a tank of gas and transport goods. The United States is releasing oil from strategic reserves to protect American consumers as the oil market responds to economic uncertainty in Russia.

Read more information about what’s at stake with Russia’s assault on Ukraine in our factsheet.

Speaker Bios

Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32)

Born and raised in North Dallas by a single mom who was a Dallas public school teacher, Colin Allred was student body president at Hillcrest High School and earned a full-ride football scholarship to Baylor University. Colin deferred his acceptance to law school to play in the NFL, where he was a linebacker for five seasons before sustaining a career-ending injury. This opened the door for him to go to law school and fulfill his other dream: becoming a civil rights attorney. Colin served in the General Counsel’s office at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Colin later returned home to Dallas and decided to run for office to represent the district he grew up in. First elected to Congress in 2018, Congressman Allred currently serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs, Veterans’ Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.

Read Rep. Allred’s full bio here.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN-05)

Victoria Spartz immigrated to the United States in 2000 after meeting her husband Jason, a born and raised Hoosier, on a train in Europe. She became a U.S. citizen and worked her way up from being a bank teller to a CPA, finance executive, successful business owner, and Indiana State Senator. Victoria worked in the Big 4 public accounting firms for Fortune 500 companies, taught as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, and served as the CFO at the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. She also started several businesses in financial consulting, farming, and real estate. First elected to Congress in 2020, she currently serves on the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary and Education and Labor committees.

Read Rep. Spartz’s bio here.

Scott Jennings

Scott Jennings’s career has taken him across the country as part of four presidential campaigns and numerous U.S. Senate, congressional, state, and local races. He served in key roles in President George W. Bush’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004, before becoming Special Assistant to the President in 2005, working under Karl Rove. At the White House, Scott served as a liaison to members of Congress, state and local officials, and key business, political and community leaders nationwide. Scott has served in senior positions and advisory roles on several highly targeted races, helping U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Congressman Brett Guthrie, and numerous other candidates and organizations for over 20 years. Scott is an Adjunct Lecturer with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Read Scott Jennings’ bio here.

The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition ( is a broad-based influential network of 500 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic, military, and community leaders in all 50 states who support strategic investments to elevate development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world.