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Tuesday
Mar252014

Boehner to Obama: Help Europeans 'Reduce Dependence' on Putin 

Heather Reed/House Speaker(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama continues visiting with key allies in Europe to build support for a unified international response to Russia's perceived violation of Ukrainian sovereignty, House Speaker John Boehner urged the president to increase U.S. natural gas exports not only to hit back at Russian President Vladimir Putin, but also to help spur job growth in America.

"I hope he uses this as an opportunity to discuss how we can help the Europeans reduce their dependence on Vladimir Putin," Boehner, R-Ohio, said during a news conference Tuesday morning at the Capitol. "Expediting the approval of U.S. natural gas exports would send a clear signal that Russia's energy stranglehold on Europe will not continue, and just as important, it would create more American jobs and help more Americans as they face the squeeze of not enough jobs and not enough increase in wages."

Boehner said that the House's next resolution would place sanctions on Putin, who happened to sanction Boehner last week while House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the House will explore more ways to assist Ukraine and hold Russia accountable "for its unlawful aggression towards a sovereign nation."

"Almost three weeks ago the House passed an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill to provide President Obama the authority to issue loan guarantees to Ukraine," Cantor, R-Va., added. "This week I also expect the House...[to pass] a bipartisan resolution reiterating not only our support for Ukraine but our support for allies in Eastern Europe and NATO, as well as insisting on holding Mr. Putin and the oligarchs accountable for their unlawful act."

Senate Democrats are expected to pass their own legislation to address loan guarantees for Ukraine as soon as this week, although the bill is expected to include a provision to reform the International Monetary Fund, which has irked some Republicans.

"What the Senate ought to be doing is taking up our bills and just moving them. What they're trying to do here is bring unrelated items into this debate," Boehner said. "All it's going to do is slow the whole process down so I would hope that we would find the common ground, pass it so that we can help our friends."

Later Tuesday, Boehner is meeting with Anita Orban, Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security of Hungary discuss efforts to urge the Obama Administration to counter Vladimir Putin by expanding natural gas exports, according to the Speaker's office.

On March 7, central European ambassadors including Orban and others from Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic sent a letter to Boehner to express support for America reducing Europe's energy dependency on Russia.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio