WASHINGTON — Senate and House leaders said Monday they would begin to work on a way to provide economic assistance to Ukraine as the country deals with the escalating Russian invasion of the Crimea region.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the GOP-led House would begin work to provide economic aid to Ukraine and they would try to move a package “as quickly as possible.”
“The House will review how we can expeditiously consider assistance to Ukraine in the form of loan guarantees,” Cantor said in a statement. “I believe there is bipartisan support for such assistance, but we must make sure it is done responsibly and any legislation is not delayed by adding divisive provisions. We should be focused on moving such a package as quickly as possible.”
Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in Senate, made brief but broader comments in support of economic aid for Ukraine at a Monday afternoon event with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I think Ukraine is in crisis and needs some help. I’m going to recommend that anything that we do be in conjunction with our allies,” he said. “And President Obama said he wants to give some economic aid. I think that’s appropriate. I will be happy to help in any way.”
Additionally, Cantor’s statement said that Congress would begin to work with the administration on sanctions against Russia.
“We will also begin reviewing what authorities, similar to the Magnitsky Act, we may provide the administration so that the president can take actions to impose sanctions on Russian officials, oligarchs, and other individuals complicit in Russia’s efforts to invade and interfere with Ukraine’s sovereign affairs,” he said. “I have spoken to administration officials to express our interest in working together to ensure that President Obama has the appropriate tools to impose real consequences on Russia for this aggression.”