Washington, D.C.— U.S. Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to close a loophole permitting U.S. banks and financial institutions to process transactions involving Russian energy to other countries.  Congressman Barr is also currently leading legislation to end this loophole, the No Energy Revenues for Russian Hostilities Act.  Congressman Barr laid out his proposal in a recent piece for the Washington Post

The General License in U.S. sanctions that created this loophole is set to expire on June 24 and Congressman Barr is pressing Secretary Yellen not to extend the waiver.  Despite an American import ban on Russian energy products, the Russian energy industry is flourishing.  Politico’s Kate Davidson broke the news of this letter in Politico’s Morning Money Newsletter.

“Given the June 24 sunset of Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC’s) General License No. 8B, it is vital for the U.S. to lead by walling off Russia’s energy revenues until it ends its aggression against Ukraine. While I am pleased to see our European allies announce new restrictions on Russian oil imports, these measures are partial in nature and delay tough action for months – time that Ukrainians cannot afford to lose,” Congressman Barr wrote in part to Secretary Yellen. 

“These European Union (EU) actions would also leave Russian oil flowing to other regions, and they fail to address export earnings from gas. I therefore urge you to keep energy-related transactions away from the U.S. financial system by letting OFAC’s authorization expire this month and sanctioning additional Russian financial institutions. Otherwise, we must ensure that these revenues cannot fund Putin’s war machine until Russia withdraws from Ukraine,” Congressman Barr concluded.

You can read Congressman Barr’s full letter to Secretary Yellen here.