WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today issued the following statement after voting against a Democrat-led resolution blocking a European Union-supported agreement between the Treasury Department and Russian companies to punish a sanctioned Russian oligarch:
“Putin is a KGB thug, and Russia is not our friend. And sanctions are an important tool for pressing back on Russia, which is why I have consistently helped lead the fight to enact sanctions.
“This Chuck Schumer resolution, however, was simply political gamesmanship. Senate Democrats have already shut down the government to prevent commonsense border security, and just this week they have filibustered legislation to strengthen Israel and weaken America’s enemies.
“And, for eight years, President Obama–with the active support of Senate Democrats–demonstrated weakness and appeasement towards Russia, which only encouraged Russian aggression.
“Russia’s hostile actions include bolstering Iran and Assad in Syria, illegally annexing Crimea, and launching waves of cyberattacks against us and our allies. The Obama administration refused to hold Putin accountable.
“I was proud to join my colleagues in 2017 in voting for the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) to turn the tide in pushing back against Russian hostility, and have since urged the administration to broadly sanction Iranian, Russian, and North Korean bad actors pursuant to that legislation.
“One of the most important elements of this sanctions legislation is that it directly targets oligarchs and terrorists who control companies in important industries. Much work remains to be done to clarify and apply these standards, including in Iran where sanctioned entities like the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps control entire sectors of the economy, and I support implementing legislation as aggressively as possible.
“Last year the Trump administration correctly targeted a sanctioned Kremlin-linked oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, and sanctioned three Russian companies he controlled, including aluminum companies. The Treasury Department told those companies that those sanctions would not be lifted until Deripaska gave up his control. They forced the companies to agree to a deal that permanently takes away Deripaska’s controls, denies personal profits, and implements meaningful checks to prevent backsliding or cheating in exchange for lifting sanctions.
“As Senate Democrats know well, this agreement weakens Deripaska–a very bad actor–which is why our European allies, including Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the UK, support the Treasury’s decision.
“Now these companies will reenter the market, driving down costs and increasing the competitiveness of U.S. firms, including firms that employ tens of thousands of Texans.
“I will continue to urge this administration to vigorously counter Russia, and maintain sanctions’ pressure on corrupt cronies and nefarious companies.”