Senate backs sanctions on Russia over US election hacking

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to allow Congress to block any efforts from the president to scale back sanctions against Russian Federation, and to step up sanctions against Moscow for interfering in the 2016 elections. It would make congressional approval necessary if Trump seeks to suspend or ease sanctions imposed on Russian Federation over its apparent cyberattacks during the 2016 USA election campaign.

The bill penalizes Moscow for interfering in the 2016 election by imposing sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.

The overall sanctions legislation must now be voted on by the Senate, which could come as early as June 15.

The amendment, which includes new sanctions on the Kremlin over human rights violations and meddling in the 2016 presidential election, is attached to an Iran sanctions bill that could pass as soon as this week, making it more hard for President Trump to veto the legislation. Democrats, however, have expressed concern about the administration's approach to Russian Federation, and consider the review as a safeguard that prevents Trump from acting unilaterally.

Now will consider the bill in the house of representatives, after which, if it is approved, the document will be sent to the President for signature.

Trump could veto the bill, but with that kind of bipartisan support, he would be unlikely to get his way.

Putin dismissed the proposed sanctions, saying they reflected an internal political struggle in the United States, and that Washington's policy of imposing sanctions on Moscow had always been to try to contain Russian Federation.

Senators on Wednesday passed the bipartisan sanctions legislation 97-2, underscoring broad support among Republicans and Democrats for rebuking Russian Federation after USA intelligence agencies determined Moscow had deliberately interfered in the presidential campaign.

Mike Crapo, one of the sponsors of the legislation, says, "Americans are concerned about Russia's behavior in the Ukraine and Syria and they are concerned about Russia's increased cyber intrusions".

They also agreed, by 97-2, to set up a process by which Congress can block any attempt by President Trump to scale back those sanctions.

Previously, U.S. energy sanctions had only targeted Russia's future high-tech energy projects, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking and offshore drilling. The Republican speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, has signaled backing for it, however.

  • Leroy Wright