USA

Senators Back Legislation Strengthening Russia Sanctions

Senators Back Legislation Strengthening Russia Sanctions

On Wednesday, United States Senate has overwhelming voted to make way for allowing new sanctions against Russian Federation in order to punish the latter's alleged interference in the US election of 2016.

The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and expands sanctions against the government of Russian Federation 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, said officials.

Several U.S. senators struck a bipartisan deal to expand existing sanctions against Russian Federation and let Congress review any move by President Donald Trump to lift existing penalties, a sign of congressional frustration amid probes of interference in the 2016 election.

Some of the sanctions were originally proposed by Barack Obama's administration, while others are new, but they are all meant to punish the Russian government for what US intelligence agencies say was an effort to damage Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by leaking embarrassing emails.

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"Russians felt the pain from sanctions, but it didn't change the overall policy of Russia", Saradzhyan says.

The Iran bill could come up for a vote as soon as this week.

The sanctions would codify existing economic restrictions and place new ones in an effort to economically harm specific individuals and Russia's economy.

It's not clear what exact changes the White House wants to make to the bill, or that those changes would actually weaken the proposed penalties against Russian Federation, but Senate Democrats have been attempting to sound an alarm over just that possibility.

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The Senate voted 98 to 2, today, to pass the underlying Iran sanctions legislation as amended.

Senior members of the Senate committee on banking which includes Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and Senator Mike Crapo teamed up with Senator Cardin and Republican Senator John McCain alongside Graham Lindsey to introduce a provision in the agreement that matches up with other bills that have previously been considered this year.

The Senate and House of Representatives still need to sign off on the full bill before it would reach Trump's desk for final approval. "I think what I wouldn't want to do is to close the channels off with something new that's ill-timed".

Earlier, Trump has indicated he is skeptical about additional sanctions and has been dismissive about the role of Russian interference in the US elections. "I think we struck a very good balance".

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Mr Macron's party has filled the political space created by the disarray within the Socialists and the Republicans. The party will have far more than the 289 seats needed for an absolute majority to carry out Macron's program.

Then-President in late December ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the USA said were really spies.


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