Senate passes sweeping sanctions bill targeting Iran, Russia
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 16, 2017,
Jun 16, 2017, 23:22
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 new Russian Federation sanctions were tacked onto an Iranian sanctions bill already on the Senate floor following a deal between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking Committees.
The measure has been attached to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is now debating and also has strong support.
Require the president to seek congressional approval before lifting the sanctions.
The Trump administration has repeatedly downplayed Russian involvement in the election and denied the USA intelligence consensus that the Russian interference helped his campaign.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned the legislation on Wednesday, urging Congress to ensure that any sanctions package "allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation".
'Today the Senate has finally confronted Russian Federation for interfering in our elections.
Germany and Austria have voiced sharp criticism of the latest USA sanctions against Moscow because they could affect European businesses involved in piping Russian natural gas to Europe, The Associated Press reports.
He called the sanctions "ill-timed" and said the administration needs the ability to "turn that heat up" on Russian Federation, should a future situation call for it.
A vote on the Russian Federation sanctions is scheduled for Wednesday, and the measure is expected to get strong bipartisan support.
But if the Senate's vote is any guide, congressional support for the measure will likely be veto-proof.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer agrees that turning the sanctions into law hamstrings the White House.
The deal was forged amid the firestorm over investigations into Moscow's possible collusion with members of Trump's campaign.
If the Trump administration decides to oppose the new sanctions, they could be in a bind. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel.
Debate on the amendment included not only the usual scaremongering about the threat of Russia, but also consistent attacks on President Trump for having willingly met with top Russian officials since taking office, with Sen.
House and Senate committees are investigating Russia's meddling and potential links to the Trump campaign.
The Senate bill also would cement in law a series of executive orders signed by Obama and aimed at punishing Russian Federation for aggressive behavior, including its 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for separatist rebels in Ukraine's east.
"This amendment also takes appropriate steps to ensure that current sanctions can not be unilaterally unwound by this administration", Shaheen said.