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Congress Readying Additional Sanctions Against Russia

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Congress may act in coming weeks to impose additional "costs" on Russia beyond the sanctions already applied by President Barack Obama.

In a memo to fellow Republicans outlining the House agenda for the next four to six weeks, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., hinted that lawmakers should expect to vote to pile on additional sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Ukraine.

"If Mr. Putin's ambitions are to be checked, we must take more steps to put pressure on Russia; thus I expect the House to move to impose greater costs on Mr. Putin and the oligarchs from Russia," Cantor wrote in a memo on Friday. "In addition, as a world leader and a country that keeps its word to its friends, America has a responsibility to support countries like Ukraine who are threatened by their neighbors."

Cantor used the language of imposing "costs" -- i.e., sanctions -- against Russia that Obama has used euphemistically in recent weeks. Though opposition to Russia's incursion into Crimea has been bipartisan, some Republicans have griped that the sanctions haven't gone far enough.

The White House has hinted it could further ramp up its sanctions to take aim at whole sectors of the Russian economy. So far, the U.S. sanctions have involved targeting some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's top aides with restrictions on their finances and international travel.

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