Expanded Russia Sanctions Gain Bipartisan Support in Senate

The bipartisan amendment expands existing sanctions on Russia. The Senate will consider it as part of an Iran sanctions bill that already has wide support

The US Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to tighten sanctions on Russian Federation and prevent President Donald Trump from being able to unilaterally ease sanctions absent congressional approval.

The Senate passed by a vote of 97-2 a measure to toughen sanctions on Russian Federation, a rare bipartisan move meant to respond to various aggressions by Russian Federation against the U.S. The sanctions are in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, cyber-attacks and interference in elections and continuing aggression in Syria.

As far as the attempted Trump-proofing, the measure makes congressional review a requirement should Trump or any president want to reduce or end the penalties in the future.

President Donald Trump appears all but certain to be confronted in coming weeks with a wrenching decision about Russian Federation: whether to veto new, bipartisan sanctions against Moscow, partly for election interference that Trump has said is a fiction created by Democrats.

Trump has continued to downplay and deny that Russian Federation interfered in the USA election to benefit his campaign. From the Senate, the bill still has to be approved by the House and then by President Trump to become law.

In a statement following Thursday's vote, Sanders said he supports additional sanctions against Russian Federation, but believes tightening sanctions against Iran "could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners, and Iran in 2015".

In a statement, Sanders said that he opposed the bill not because of the new Russian Federation sanctions, which he supports, but because of the additional sanctions against Iran that were also part of the bill.

Broad new sanctions would be imposed on Russia's mining, metals, shipping and railways sectors. But in a Senate panel Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against passing a measure, saying it would make it more hard to improve U.S.

It's not clear how the pitch would be received by House Republicans, but Politico added the administration official says the White House is "confident it has allies in the House" who do not like limiting the president's powers. Also included in the bill is an amendment strengthening sanctions for Russian officials who support cyberattacks against the USA and its allies.

These latest sanctions are in retaliation for Russia's interference in last year's presidential election. Dan Fried, who retired in February as coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department, told Yahoo News that there was "serious consideration" by the Trump White House to "unilaterally rescind the sanctions". Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rand Paul of Kentucky were the only votes against the bill.

Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, had questioned the legislation in testimony in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. "But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015".

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