Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Senate Votes 98-2 to Impose New Sanctions on Iran, Russia

Senate Votes 98-2 to Impose New Sanctions on Iran, Russia

The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly for new sanctions punishing Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 election and to force President Donald Trump to get Congress' approval before easing any existing sanctions.

The other senator voting no, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, told The Washington Examiner that he doesn't favor any new measures against Iran or Russian Federation.

The bipartisan support for the year's most significant GOP-backed limitation on Trump comes as the White House remains silent on the plan to sanction Moscow, even as President Putin pushes back at US intelligence officials' conclusion that Russian actors conducted cyberattacks to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

It also allows Congress to review any administration attempts to ease, suspend or end sanctions.

Crapo says Russia's President Vladimir Putin has become increasingly belligerent, nationalistic and autocratic.

USA intelligence chiefs have concluded that Russian Federation orchestrated a campaign to undermine the American election process that included espionage and cyber-attacks, as a means to tilt the vote in Trump's favor.

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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.

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".

The bill now heads to the House, where its fate is less certain. "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". "I am strongly supportive of the sanctions on Russian Federation included in this bill", Sanders said in a statement.

The sanctions against Russian Federation are "in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyber-attacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria", according to the sponsors.

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.

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