Jabbing Obama, Senate Republicans Seek New Russia Sanctions

GOP senators call for sanctions and $100 million in direct military aide to Ukraine.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) speaks to reporters before going into the Senate Chamber to vote, on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. The shut down is currently in it's 12th day.  
National Journal
Michael Catalini
See more stories about...
Michael Catalini
April 30, 2014, 7:09 a.m.

The Sen­ate’s top Re­pub­lic­an and the lead­ing GOP sen­at­or on the For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee are in­tro­du­cing le­gis­la­tion Wed­nes­day aimed at de­ter­ring Rus­si­an ag­gres­sion in Ukraine, and de­liv­er­ing a muted re­buke of Pres­id­ent Obama’s hand­ling of the crisis in the east­ern part of the coun­try.

“The cur­rent sanc­tions have failed to im­pose the type of cost that will change Vladi­mir Putin’s cal­cu­lus,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment out­lining the le­gis­la­tion ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al. “Ab­sent such costs, Putin will con­tin­ue to destabil­ize Ukraine and may in­vade.”

Sen. Bob Cork­er of Ten­ness­ee, the rank­ing Re­pub­lic­an on the For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, spoke on the Sen­ate floor Wed­nes­day about the need for le­gis­la­tion, say­ing that NATO should be strengthened, Rus­sia should be pen­al­ized for its ac­tions, and non-NATO mem­bers should be sup­por­ted, as well.

The bill, whose back­ers also in­clude Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell of Ken­tucky, Minor­ity Whip John Cornyn of Texas and Sen. John Mc­Cain of Ari­zona, comes after the pas­sage of sanc­tions against Rus­sia that had bi­par­tis­an sup­port and sug­gests a grow­ing rift between con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans and the White House.

Cork­er, who said he and his col­leagues wrote the bill as if they were “sit­ting in the White House”, non­ethe­less said Re­pub­lic­ans felt as if they could not wait to un­veil the bill un­til some Demo­crats ap­proved of it. Cork­er also said he told his Demo­crat­ic com­mit­tee coun­ter­part, Chair­man Bob Men­en­dez of New Jer­sey, of his in­ten­tions be­fore in­tro­du­cing the bill and that Re­pub­lic­ans went ahead after Demo­crats balked at Ir­an sanc­tions earli­er in this Con­gress.

“We just felt like with the es­sence of time and just our sin­cere con­cern about what’s hap­pen­ing in east­ern Ukraine, it was bet­ter to just go ahead and get something out there and hope that it’ll have some ef­fect on be­ha­vi­or,” Cork­er said.

“The lack of a force­ful, ef­fect­ive re­sponse by the ad­min­is­tra­tion and West­ern lead­ers has giv­en Putin little reas­on to ex­pect that fur­ther ag­gres­sion will be pun­ished,” Sen. Dan Coats of In­di­ana, a co­spon­sor, said in an email. “We are in­tro­du­cing tough dip­lo­mat­ic, eco­nom­ic, and fin­an­cial sanc­tions, and I am hope­ful that Pres­id­ent Obama will sup­port our ef­fort. If he is will­ing to lead by tak­ing ac­tion that demon­strates Amer­ic­an dis­ap­prov­al of Rus­sia’s ac­tions, I am con­fid­ent that a bi­par­tis­an ma­jor­ity in Con­gress will stand with him.”

The sen­at­ors poin­ted to vi­ol­ence in east­ern Ukraine, in­clud­ing the shoot­ing of the may­or of Kharkiv and the tak­ing of host­ages af­fil­i­ated with the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for Se­cur­ity and Co­oper­a­tion in Europe, as part of their im­petus for push­ing the le­gis­la­tion, al­though its pro­spects for pas­sage ap­pear slight.

The le­gis­la­tion calls the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea il­leg­al and calls for new sanc­tions against Rus­si­an of­fi­cials in­volved with the takeover. It would also give $100 mil­lion in dir­ect mil­it­ary aid to Ukraine and au­thor­ize the ex­port of U.S. nat­ur­al gas to Ukraine, which re­lies heav­ily on Rus­sia as a source of en­ergy.

What We're Following See More »
LOGISTICS, TRAFFIC AT ISSUE
Everyone’s Taking Their Best Shots at Philly
40 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

Not since Eagles fans booed Santa Claus have this many people been dismayed at Philadelphia. Traffic gridlock, poor logistics, and the inevitable summer heat and thunderstorms are drawing the ire of convention goers, as "peeved" delegates complained about "Homerian odysseys" to get from place to place. "On Twitter, out-of-town media complained about the logistics of the convention, spread out between the sports complex in South Philadelphia, media tents a hike away, and the daytime events at the Convention Center in Center City."

Source:
PRIEST KILLED IN SMALL NORTHERN TOWN
France Wakes Up to More Terrorism
51 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"Two attackers killed a priest with a blade and seriously wounded another hostage in a church in northern France on Tuesday before being shot dead by French police. The attack took place during morning mass at the Saint-Etienne parish church, south of Rouen in Normandy. Five people were initially taken hostage." The case has been referred to anti-terrorism officials in Paris.

Source:
6PM VOTE
Roll Call Sets the Stage for More Drama
58 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Sometimes, unity is procedural. Mr. Sanders’s delegates will get the chance to back him in a roll-call vote from the convention floor on Tuesday, a largely symbolic gesture intended to recognize the breadth of Mr. Sanders’s support as the former rival campaigns negotiate an awkward peace." Around 6 p.m., they'll begin calling the states to vote. Sanders won't be in a generous mood—at least at the beginning. Last night from the stage, he said, "I look forward to your votes during the roll call tomorrow night." Indeed, in 2008, Clinton herself insisted on a roll call, before halting it "midway through, asking that Mr. Obama be approved by acclamation."

Source:
“CLINTON MUST BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT”
Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
10 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

“MUST NEVER BE PRESIDENT”
Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
11 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.

×