The US Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for new sanctions punishing Russian Federation for alleged meddling in the 2016 US election, and to force President Donald Trump to get Congress' approval before easing any existing sanctions.
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 bill would also impose sanctions on Iran with regard to its ballistic missile activities that are not linked to the nuclear agreement the Arab country signed with the US and other countries.
The vote to strengthen sanctions against Russia - which Senators on both parties made clear was created to send a message on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections - came hours after President Donald Trump had again mocked the investigation surrounding those charges. A date hasn't been set for a final vote on the full measure.
In a rare moment of bipartisan unity, the Senate voted 97 to two to approve the sanctions, with only Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky voting against.
Several more votes on the bill are scheduled in the Senate in the coming days before it can go to the House of Representatives.More news: Trump appears to confirm he's under investigation
Senators said the tougher tack against Russian Federation would help force them to ease hostilities against Ukraine, permit a negotiated settlement in the Syrian civil war and dissuade them from attempting to hack USA institutions and political groups in the future, as it's widely believed they did during the campaign a year ago.
The Senate voted 98 to 2, today, to pass the underlying Iran sanctions legislation as amended.
"By codifying existing sanctions and requiring Congressional review of any decision to weaken or lift them, we are ensuring that the United States continues to punish President Putin for his reckless and destabilizing actions", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. Certain Russian industries, like its mining and metals industries, would also be targeted. One senator, Democratic Sen. This comes after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the new sanctions would hamper diplomacy with Russian Federation.
In addition to Russia's cyberattacks, the tightened sanctions were labeled a response to Russia's violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity, and its role in Syria.
The measure is meant to punish Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 USA election, its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for Syria's government in the six-year-long civil war.