By Erik Wasson - 04/16/14 04:00 PM EDT
The leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee will travel to Ukraine next week amid signs that tension with Russia is increasing.
Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif) and ranking member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) will lead the delegation from April 21–23, the committee announced Wednesday.
The delegation will focus on meeting representatives of all major political parties as well as civil society groups organizing for the next presidential election.
The committee members will also look at “Ukraine’s efforts to diversify its energy supply.”
On Capitol Hill, the issue of exporting natural gas to Ukraine and Eastern European countries has gained momentum as tension with Russia rises. Two Senate Republicans, John HoevenJohn HoevenOvernight Defense: White House threatens to veto Gitmo bill GOP senators fight female draft in defense bill Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (N.D.) and John McCainJohn McCainGOP lawmakers slam secret agreement to help lift Iran bank sanctions Kerry: US 'on the verge' of suspending talks with Russia on Syria Trump, Clinton to headline Al Smith dinner MORE (Ariz.) visited Norway earlier this week to work with energy officials on finding alternative sources.
Opponents of the push argue the increased exports could raise domestic energy costs and thereby nip a manufacturing resurgence in the bud.
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“Our delegation will be an important show of support for a country under increasing economic strain and security threats. It will also be an opportunity for the Foreign Affairs Committee at this critical time to take a measure of the Obama Administration’s efforts to help Ukraine maintain its sovereignty,” Royce said.
Congress this month passed a bill that gives Ukraine $1 billion in loan guarantees and codifies a range of sanctions on Ukrainian and Russian officials.
Treasury Secretary Jack LewJack LewObama administration officials ramp up push for Pacific pact Overnight Finance: Lawmakers float criminal charges for Wells Fargo chief | Scrutiny on Trump's Cuba dealings | Ryan warns of recession if no tax reform GOP senators press Treasury to withdraw estate tax proposal MORE signed the loan guarantee agreement with Ukraine Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak on Monday. The White House on Wednesday was preparing to implement a new round of sanctions.
Russia is threatening to take action at the World Trade Organization, which it joined with President Obama’s help, over the new sanctions, the Financial Times reports
Laura Barron-Lopez contributed.