Congressional leaders on Monday said they are prepared to provide economic aid to Ukraine and increase pressure on Russia as tensions continue to escalate in the eastern European conflict.
"To deal with the crisis in Ukraine and respond to Russia's provocation, I have asked our House committee Chairmen to develop plans to assist the government of Ukraine, put pressure on Russia, and reassure allies throughout the world that the United States will not stand idly by in the face of such aggression," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said in a statement.
Cantor also said Congress will begin to review if it can provide the Obama administration authority to impose sanctions on Russian officials following its military intervention into Ukraine's Crimea region.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., indicated on Monday that the Senate would also be exploring ways to help Ukraine.
"What I am going to recommend is that anything that we do would be in coordination with our allies," said Reid. "And President Obama has said he wants to give economic aid. I think that's appropriate.”
The Senate isn't holding votes until Wednesday because of bad weather, and it's not yet clear what an aid package or set of actions might look like. But aides and members were in discussions over the weekend about how to move forward, and Republicans are already pressing for a tough response toward Russia.
President Obama earlier today said that Congress should "work with the administration to help provide a package of assistance to the Ukrainians, to the people and that government."
First published March 3 2014, 3:10 PM
Kasie Hunt has covered politics for NBC News since January 2013. Hunt came to NBC News from The Associated Press, where she served as a national political reporter. As one of the organizationâ€™s lead campaign trail reporters, Hunt covered the Republican primary field and nominee Mitt Romney, eventually following the Romney campaign nearly full time from December 2011 through election day.
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Prior to joining the AP, Hunt covered the 2010 mid-term elections and the emerging GOP presidential primary race as a national political reporter for POLITICO. Earlier, she covered health care, education, and labor policy for National Journalâ€™s CongressDaily, where she closely followed the Affordable Care Act from inception to passage. She began her journalism career as an intern with the NBC News political unit.
Hunt has appeared regularly on numerous television programs, including MSNBCâ€™s â€œThe Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,â€ â€œNOW with Alex Wagner,â€ and â€œHardball with Chris Matthews,â€ as well as NBCâ€™s â€œThe Chris Matthews Show.â€
Hunt is a graduate of George Washington University and holds a masterâ€™s degree in sociology from the University of Cambridge, where she was a member of St Johnâ€™s College.