By Molly K. Hooper - 06/01/14 07:19 AM EDT
A GOP lawmaker is calling out the White House for its "strange attitude" on a bipartisan bill to sanction human rights abusers in Venezuela.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman emeritus Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen questioned President Obama's lack of support for her bill to punish individuals close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who are responsible for brutal crackdowns on protesters challenging his government.
Ros-Lehtinen sent the tweet in response to intelligence from Democrats that the administration had been calling them to oppose her bill, the Venezuelan Human Rights and Democratic Protection Act, that was approved in the House last week.
The bipartisan measure, cosponsored by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla..), was passed by unanimous consent.
Ros-Lehtinen tells The Hill that President Obama "has a strange attitude about interfering in other countries … in Venezuela where democracy is under assault (Obama) says, 'Oh, we can't interfere.' It doesn't make any sense. We protected Ukrainians from Russian aggressive actions and this is the same thing."
Opponents to the measure believe that sanctions - denying visas, blocking bank accounts, and other provisions would be counterproductive at this point, and legitimize Maduro's contention that the U.S. is behind the unrest in Caracas.