Congress Steps Up With Legislation To Take On Russia

Biden’s weakness is causing us serious trouble. All of our adversaries are seeing his presidency as an opportunity to accomplish whatever they want. China has been continuously testing Taiwan’s defenses, Iran has been creating enough nuclear material to make a nuke, North Korea wants to build up their arsenal to the point that they can threaten us, and Russia currently has a force of somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k troops along the Ukrainian border waiting for the orders to invade. So Congress is now trying to use its power to get Russia to back off, through the use of sanctions. The GOP and Dems are of course at odds in how to exactly do that.

I would describe it as we are on the one-yard line and hopefully, we will be able to conclude successfully,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “There is an incredible bipartisan resolve for support of Ukraine and an incredibly strong bipartisan resolve to have severe consequences for Russia if it invades Ukraine and for some cases what it has already done.”

But fissures remain in Congress within and between the two parties on the scope and timing of the sanctions, and all sides worry that any missteps could exacerbate the volatile situation in Eastern Europe.

Republicans fear the Democrats’ bill, which Mr. Menendez has dubbed the “mother of all sanctions bill,” is too weak with too many loopholes and too many waivers that the Kremlin can exploit.

The starting point for the debate is a bill put forward earlier this month by Mr. Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, as an alternative to a Senate GOP measure that would have immediately reimposed Trump-era sanctions on Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline — sanctions that Mr. Biden lifted last year.

Critics contend that the natural gas pipeline will increase Moscow’s dominance over European energy markets and put Germany and other countries at risk of energy extortion.

Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations panel, said that Russia’s aggression in recent days might have changed the calculus.

“We’ve had a disagreement on that since the administration took office,” said Mr. Risch. “But look, there’s been something that’s happened on the ground that has changed the dynamics and opened the door, really, for us to reach an agreement.”

It remains to be seen whether Congress will rise to the occasion, however.”

“Republicans said it is too little, too late, and the Democrats’ bill would do more to appease Mr. Putin than it would deter him from invading Ukraine.”

The bill stops short of Republican proposals to enact immediate sanctions on Nord Stream 2 and instead, expresses a “sense of Congress that Nord Stream 2 is a tool of the malign influence of the Russian Federation.”

“If that’s the conversation we have when Russia is marching across Ukraine, I think that Vladimir Putin and Russia are going to be thrilled that that’s our conversation,” said Rep. Scott Perry, Pennsylvania Republican, and chairman of the far-right House Freedom Caucus. “Because while we’re gonna be talking about Nord Stream, and a waiver and potential sanctions, they’re going to be gobbling up territory.”

“I think it has no deterring effect whatsoever as a matter of fact, that might have the opposite effect of encouraging Putin by signaling even more weakness than we’ve already telegraphed,” he said.”

The last thing we need to do is project more weaknesses. Biden has that front more than handled. We need to start showing the world, especially our adversaries, that we are still the United States of America and, despite our leader, a force to be reckoned with. So we should be taking action and enacting sanctions right now. Russia is currently threatening World War III, so now is not the time to sit on measures that could slow/stop Russia.

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