(NBC) - President Obama continues his European diplomacy tour in Belgium today.
Lawmakers here now think they've come up with a way to push through sanctions against Russia as President Obama downplays Russia's influence overseas.
President Obama gives a major speech in Brussels today. Senior administration officials say he'll put Ukraine in a larger context.
Emphasizing the U.S. and Europe, working together to fight international threats, the President downplayed Russia's influence calling it a regional power not a global leader like the former Soviet Union. "They don't pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan," said President Barack Obama.
Today the president meets with the European Union and NATO's Secretary-General.
Administration officials say the focus will be keeping a tight relationship between the U.S. and Europe - for their own security.
Back home, Congress is still trying to figure out how to punish Russia for annexing Crimea. "Right now is the moment that we need to send an even stronger signal to Vladimir Putin," said Senator Kelly Ayotte,(R) New Hampshire.
Focusing on energy could be key because much of Europe relies on Russia for natural gas.
A vote is scheduled for tomorrow.