In Rare Moment of Bipartisan Unity, Senate Approves New Russia Sanctions

The measure, attached as an amendment to a broader bill dealing with Iran, firms up existing sanctions against Russian Federation and imposes new ones.

The legislation was filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill. "These additional sanctions will also send a powerful and bipartisan statement to Russian Federation and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished".

Existing US sanctions imposed by the Obama administration have hurt Russia's economy, but haven't moved the Kremlin on policy, according to Saradzhyan.

The bill, which passed 98-2, includes an array of penalties aimed at choking off the vast financial networks that United States lawmakers say Moscow and Tehran need to sustain their destabilizing behavior.

Lawmakers advanced the measure just days after it was announced by Banking Chairman Mike Crapo of Idaho and Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, both of them Republicans belonging to Trump's party, as well as the ranking Democrats on the those panels, Sherrod Brown of OH and Ben Cardin of Maryland.

The discussions gathered steam late last month after Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, of the Banking Committee, and Sens. "What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off".

"This is a very comprehensive piece of legislation", Corker said Monday night after the measures were introduced.

President Trump and Moscow have always denied any collusion.

It would impose new sanctions on Russians found to be guilty of human rights abuses, supplying weapons to Syria's government and conduct cyber attacks on behalf of Russia's government, among others.

The Russian provisions would add people involved in the alleged Russian hacking attacks on the United States election to the sanctions list and impose penalties for delivery of weapons to the Syrian regime, hitting areas of the Russian economy such as mining and the energy sector. Also covered by the sanctions are people doing business with Russian intelligence and defense agencies.

A group of Senators agreed Monday on legislation to strengthen sanctions against Russian Federation, including a provision that would require congressional review if the White House relaxed, suspended or terminated sanctions already in place. The amendment provides for an expedited process by which Congress can have hearings and then a vote on whether or not the reject the President's proposed lifting of any or all of the sanctions.

The power would allow congress to strengthen those sanctions in retaliation for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 election and its actions in Syria.

Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) said, "Any idea of the president's that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation".

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