Three high-ranking Democrats this week asked President Obama to impose more sanctions on Russia. Now, a conservative Republican is offering one way for Obama to cut off support: immediately end the Export-Import Bank’s deals with Russia.
House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said Russia’s repeated attempts to undermine Ukraine and its connection to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 attack warrant the move.
“Russia’s actions are in direct conflict with our national interests,” Hensarling said.
In a letter to President Obama, the vocal Ex-Im critic questioned why his administration was offering “sweetheart deals to Russian companies.” Hensarling said total authorizations between the bank and Russia have increased nine-fold since Obama became president.
Two state-owned Russian banks—Vnesheconombank and Gazprombank—were hit with U.S, sanctions earlier this year. They have also received financing from Ex-Im.
Under the law, Obama has the authority to stop any financing deals that benefit Russian companies.
“I therefore ask you to immediately halt any and all deals the Export-Import Bank is working on with Russia and with Russian companies and to suspend consideration of future Ex-Im deals involving Russia,” Hensarling said.
Earlier this week, the Democratic chairmen of the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence Committees wrote to Obama seeking “broader sanctions on Russia’s energy and financial industries, as well as other sectors of the Russian economy as appropriate.”