Updated 2:06 p.m. | A House bill introduced Friday imposing sanctions on Russia and providing economic aid to Ukraine would closely mirror legislation up for consideration in the Senate next week — but without language sought by the White House that would open the spigots for International Monetary Fund loans.
Like the Senate bill, it would authorize direct loan guarantees for Ukraine and impose sanctions against officials in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government tied to the crisis.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, has all but put the kibosh on bringing legislation to the floor including IMF language.
Introduced by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., and co-sponsored by his ranking member, Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., the new measure could represent an attempt to align both chamber’s efforts to provide the White House with the tools to move forward in a rapidly escalating diplomatic standoff between the two nations.
Royce released the following statement after the introduction of the legislation during Friday’s pro forma session of the House:
“Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and intimidation of Ukraine should be a wakeup call. The U.S. and our European friends should be bolstering the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. That means aiding Ukraine’s fledging democracy, with its May elections looming, and bolstering its economy, including by helping Putin’s energy grip over Eastern Europe. The U.S. should act immediately to increase natural gas exports to Europe, undermining Russia’s monopoly, and creating American jobs. Strong sanctions against those Russians responsible for this aggression against Ukraine are critical.”
Engel also put out a statement:
“The United States must stand with the people of Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s attack on and occupation of Crimea. This important legislation supplements the President’s efforts to impose sanctions on those responsible for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, looting Ukraine’s economy, and violating human rights in Ukraine. It sends a clear message to President Putin and his corrupt cronies that we will not tolerate Russian aggression. The bill also provides assistance to support the people of Ukraine as they work to rebuild their economy and prepare for democratic elections, and reaffirms our commitment to the security of our NATO partners in East and Central Europe.”
The committee has scheduled a mark-up of the legislation for Tuesday.