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Rubio, Senate Republicans Introduce Strategic U.S. Response To Deter Russian Aggression In Europe

Apr 30, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – In a press conference earlier today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced legislation with 20 Senate Republicans providing a strategic U.S. response to deter Russian aggression in Europe, which threatens regional security and prosperity that is critical for maintaining economic growth in the United States.

“We live in a global economy. As Americans, our ability to sell goods and services to other nations is critical to our economic future and to the creation of jobs. We cannot allow the world to become a place where countries become off limits to us, as markets, because they are afraid of a more powerful neighbor taking actions against them,” said Rubio. “And that’s precisely what’s happened here. And it’s setting a precedent, especially for countries like Russia and potentially China, that if you don’t want a neighboring country to do more commerce and trade and economic engagement with the West, you simply invade them or intimidate them.

“What this bill endeavors to do, these sanctions will do, is it will change that calculus. It will change that calculus so that he and the people around him realize that the costs of having taken this action now far outweigh any perceived benefits,” added Rubio. “We think that’s what our foreign policy should be grounded on, and I hope and urge Senator Reid and the Democrats who still run this place to give us a chance to have a vote on this. I think we could pass it if we did.”

The Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014 is cosponsored by Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Bob Corker (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Hoeven (R-ND), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John McCain (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mark Kirk (R-IL.), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dan Coats (R-IN), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Rob Portman (R-OH), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Thune (R-SD) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Key provisions of the Russian Aggression Prevention Act are included below. 

For a copy of the legislative text, click here.
For a section-by-section bill summary, click here.
For a one-page background of the bill, click here.

Strengthen NATO

  • Increases substantially U.S. and NATO support for the armed forces of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, as well as other countries determined appropriate by the president.

  • Requires the president to accelerate implementation of missile defense in Europe and provide other missile defense support for our NATO allies.

Deter Russian aggression

  • Places immediate new sanctions on any Russian officials and agents involved in the illegal occupation of Crimea, as well as on corrupt Russian officials and their supporters, and broadens and solidifies the sanctions already imposed by the administration.

  • Imposes immediate new sanctions tied to the destabilization of eastern Ukraine on four key Russian banks: Sberbank, VTB Bank, VEB Bank, Gazprombank, as well as on the Gazprom, Novatek, Rosneft energy monopolies, and Rosoboronexport, the major Russian arms dealer.

  • If Russian armed forces cross further into, or Russia further annexes, the sovereign territory of Ukraine or any other country, even tougher sanctions would (1) cut all senior Russian officials, their companies, and their supporters off from the world’s financial system; (2) target any Russian entities owned by the Russian government or sanctioned individuals across the arms, defense, energy, financial services, metals, or mining sectors in Russia; (3) and cut Russian banks off from the U.S. banking system.

Harden our non-NATO allies

  • Authorizes the president to provide $100 million worth of direct military assistance to Ukraine, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons and small arms, based on a needs and capabilities assessment of the Ukrainian armed forces. It also encourages the sharing of intelligence with Ukraine.
  • Provides authority for exports of U.S. natural gas to all WTO members, including key countries in Europe, and provides support to encourage the U.S. private sector to invest in energy projects in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova.

  • Impose significant diplomatic measures on Russia, limits Russia’s access to advanced U.S. oil and gas technologies, provides support for Russian civil society, and focuses U.S. attention on corruption in Russia, potential treaty violations, and other strategically important matters.

  • Provides Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia with major non-NATO ally status to facilitate their access to military equipment and expands U.S. and NATO military exercises and training with key non-NATO states. It also prohibits U.S. recognition of the annexation of Crimea and provides support for civil society activities in former Soviet countries, as well as expands U.S. government counter-propaganda efforts in such countries.

View Rubio’s remarks here. For television stations interested in airing today’s statement, a broadcast quality video is available here.

A complete transcript of Rubio’s remarks is available below:

Just briefly, a moment of personal privilege. I just want to extend our thoughts and prayers for those in Northwest Florida, particularly in Pensacola, overnight had a massive amount of flooding, some loss of life. We’ve been in contact with the Governor’s office, also reached out with Senator Nelson. We’re watching very closely what’s happening there. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.

I want to thank Senator Corker and everyone who’s here for bringing us together on this important issue. There’s two points I would outline. I think the details of this have been well discussed and will continue to be discussed. The two points I want to make is, first and foremost, this is really about economics as much as anything else. What triggered all of this was when Ukraine decided to engage the West in economic relations, particularly the European Union. And we live in a global economy. As Americans, our ability to sell goods and services to other nations is critical to our economic future and to the creation of jobs.

We cannot allow the world to become a place where countries become off limits to us, as markets, because they are afraid of a more powerful neighbor taking actions against them. And that’s precisely what’s happened here. And it’s setting a precedent, especially for countries like Russia and potentially China, that if you don’t want a neighboring country to do more commerce and trade and economic engagement with the West, you simply invade them or intimidate them.

The second point is, as a reaction to that, we must change this cost-benefit analysis that Vladimir Putin has gone through. Right now, he has clearly calculated that the benefits to his country, although I think he’s wrong, that the benefits of taking this action outweigh the costs. That the way to restore Russia as a great power, in his mind, is to show that they can move into any neighboring country militarily and do as they please.  And he believes the benefits of that outweigh the costs that he’s now facing.

What this bill endeavors to do, these sanctions will do, is it will change that calculus. It will change that calculus so that he and the people around him realize that the costs of having taken this action now far outweigh any perceived benefits. We think that’s what our foreign policy should be grounded on, and I hope and urge Senator Reid and the Democrats who still run this place to give us a chance to have a vote on this. I think we could pass it if we did.