Ayotte: ‘We must act now’ on more Russian sanctions
© Greg Nash

Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOPINION: Democracy will send ISIS to the same grave as communism Kelly Ayotte joins defense contractor's board of directors Week ahead: Comey firing dominates Washington MORE (R-N.H.) said she is drafting legislation that would place U.S. sanctions on Russia’s banks and energy sector.

“The administration should not delay any longer in imposing immediate and severe sanctions on Russia's banking and financial sector,” Ayotte said Tuesday. “We must act now — before it's too late.”

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Shortly after Russia annexed Crimea, Congress passed legislation that sanctions Russian leaders involved in the invasion of part of Ukraine. The bill also provided a $1 billion loan to Ukraine to help maintain independence from Russia in the rest of the country. 

But many lawmakers are concerned Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t satisfied with just part of Ukraine and that his aggression will continue unless more is done. Putin now has troops along the eastern border as well and Ukraine was forced to some military action this week to protect its sovereignty.

Ayotte could introduce her legislation when the Senate returns from a two-week recess at the end of the month.

“The legislation I'm crafting would impose immediate additional sanctions on the Russian economy, with even harsher sanctions — such as on Russia's energy sector — if Putin takes further aggressive actions against Ukraine,” Ayotte said. “My proposal would also authorize provisions to provide critical support to the Ukrainian military.”

Ayotte isn’t the only lawmaker calling for more action from the Obama administration.

Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioThe private alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program  Cruz offers bill to weaken labor board's power Overnight Finance: GOP offers measure to repeal arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for Russian sanctions violations | Senate panel sticks with 2017 funding levels for budget | Trump tax nominee advances | Trump unveils first reg agenda MORE (R-Fla.), a possible 2016 GOP presidential nominee, said Tuesday that Obama should “immediately” increase sanctions on Russia.

“Sector-based sanctions should begin to be imposed and President Putin’s own financial assets, and those of his associates, targeted,” Rubio said. “By delaying the most significant penalties, the United States and our allies have unfortunately sent the message to Russia that there will be little cost to pay for this type of behavior.”