Senate Votes Up Anti-Russia Sanctions

The new package of Russia sanctions, passed by a 97-2 vote in the Senate, was so far one of the strongest USA responses to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

USA senators reached an agreement on Monday on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation, including a provision that would prevent the White House from easing, suspending or ending sanctions without 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.

However, with the bill heading to the House, it appears that the White House is now working with House Republicans to weaken the legislation and restore President Donald Trump's power over the sanctions.

The Trump administration had considered lifting Russian sanctions in the past, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposed the new legislation, worrying it could hurt the US' ability to have a "constructive dialogue" with Russia.

"We can not let Russia's meddling in our elections go unpunished, lest they ever consider such interference again, nor any other nation in the world", said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat. If it passes the House, Trump could either veto the bill even though a Senate override would be likely, or sign it into law.

Earlier this month, Yahoo News reported that the Trump administration secretly tried to eliminate Russia's economic sanctions. It would also allow new sanctions on state-owned entities of the Russian economy, including mining, metal, shipping and railways.

"Today the United States Senate is asserting its responsibilities as it relates to foreign policy", Corker added on the Senate floor. The Senate is going to vote on a bill that would strengthen sanctions against Russian Federation for a number of things, from Crimea to interference in our elections. The two Senators that voted "no" were Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rand Paul (R-KY). "What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off".

Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump has been "far too eager" to float the idea of sanctions relief with Russian Federation and that the point of the amendment was to take the decision out of the executive's hands. Also included in the bill is an amendment strengthening sanctions for Russian officials who support cyberattacks against the US and its allies. "I don't expect the Russian government to sanction the U.S. shipping industry or railway industry or metal industry. but [Putin] is going to try to find sectors on which the impact would be comparable".