Senate Considers Retaliation Options Against Crimea-Gobbling Russians.

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Washington, D.C. – The United States should support the Ukraine during the ongoing escalation with Russia. But in the process, America shouldn’t give up its international influence and pick up the tab for $63 billion in international aid that has nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine. That was the message of U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., who voted against moving forward to the Ukraine bill because it included unrelated measures that could diminish our country’s influence at the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Ukraine bill authorizes security, financial, and technical support for Ukraine, but also makes changes to the United States’ role at the IMF and how much the United States contributes to the international body. These changes to the IMF have no place in the bill, according to Enzi, because they are not related to Ukraine. The changes were initially proposed by the IMF in 2010 and are supported by the Obama Administration but have not gained traction in Congress until now.

“I am extremely concerned with the situation in the Ukraine. Action must be taken against Russia, but that doesn’t mean Congress should blindly sign off on a bill that diminishes America’s international influence while costing us more than $60 billion,” said Enzi. “This should be an opportunity to support one of our allies at a critical moment, but instead is being used to sneak through provisions that have not been able to pass through the regular legislative process.”

Enzi favors an open amendment process that would allow for votes on proposals to remove the IMF reform sections, expand natural gas exports to Ukraine, among others.

The Senate voted 78-17 in favor of moving forward with the bill and will continue consideration on the Senate floor this week.

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Russia Invades Ukraine; Sen. Kelly Ayotte Demands U.S. Respond Quickly.

When disturbed, he always shoots first and asks questions later.
When disturbed, he always shoots first and asks questions later.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), a Senate Armed Services Committee member, released the following statement regarding U.S. policy toward Russia in the wake of Russia’s invasion of the Crimea:

“From Syria, to Snowden, to the Crimea, the administration’s “reset” with Russia is a failure. It’s urgent that we reset the reset policy. The administration’s weakness and accommodation toward Russia has only invited disdain and aggression from Putin. Putin’s actions in Crimea demonstrate a brazen disregard for international law, Russia’s prior commitments, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as the statements and warnings of this administration. The time for administration statements and red lines is over.

“The U.S. should move without delay to inflict concrete consequences on Putin for his invasion and occupation of sovereign Ukrainian territory. At a minimum, the U.S. and our European allies should implement strong financial and diplomatic sanctions against the Putin regime, including asset freezes and visa bans. The administration should also make clear that the G-8 will not occur in Russia as long as Russian troops are occupying Ukrainian or Georgian territory. Instead, the administration should work to hold a G-7 summit in Europe or the United States.

“The U.S. should also make clear that it will stand with the people of Ukraine by working with our European allies to deliver a quick and reasonable IMF economic aid package to Kyiv, exploring the possibility of exporting significant quantities of U.S. natural gas to Ukraine, and providing increased assistance to the Ukrainian military.

“The administration should also revisit plans to further strengthen missile defenses in Europe.”

Sen. Kelly Ayotte.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte.