Russia Sanctions Bill Passes in Senate 97-2

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Location Russia. Green pin on the map.

The Senate voted to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia on Wednesday over “aggressive behavior,” tacked onto another resolution that will also put sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Known as the Crapo Amendment, the bill is intended to “impose sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation and to combat terrorism and illicit financing,” according to the bill’s statement of purpose. The bill also gives Congress the authority to review any attempt to repeal the sanctions, preventing the White House from doing so unilaterally.

“We moved to make the Congress, not the President, the final arbiter of sanctions relief when necessary,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Any idea of the President that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation.”

The new sanctions are attached to another sanctions bill intended for Iran, the “Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017.”

The two lonely dissenting votes came from Sens. Rand Paul (R–KY) and Mike Lee (R–UT), the former of whom was at the forefront of another recent effort in the Senate to reign in arms sales to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

While that attempt met failure in a narrow 47-53 Senate vote, on Tuesday Sen. Paul explained to CNN that arming the Saudis to the teeth only provokes Iran into the kind of “destabilizing activities” the sanctions bill seeks to address.

“Iran develops [missiles] in response to Saudi Arabia getting more weapons. It’s an arms race over there, and we’re fueling it,” Paul said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a Senate committee this week that he was worried Congress was taking an action that would interfere in the Trump administration’s efforts to shore up ties with our nuclear-armed rival.

“What I wouldn’t want to do is close the channels off,” Tillerson told the committee.

In 2016, at the tail end of the prior administration, then-President Obama brought about sanctions on several Russian individuals and entities over alleged interference in the 2016 election, expelling 35 Russian diplomats from the country in the process.

“Russia’s cyberactivities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in U.S. democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government,” the White House said in a statement immediately after the incident. “These actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House spokeswoman, said the Trump administration is “committed to existing sanctions against Russia” on Thursday, but added it is “still reviewing the new Russia sanctions amendment.”

“We will keep them in place until Moscow fully honors its commitment to resolve the crisis in Ukraine,” Sanders said. “We believe the existing executive branch sanctions regime is the best tool for compelling Russia to fulfill its commitments.”

While the Senate overwhelmingly approved of the measure, before it reaches Trump’s desk it must pass through the House. Sen. Bob Corker (R–TN), however, is convinced that the president will sign the bill if makes it through the House, telling reporters on Wednesday “[…] look, this is going to become law.”

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  • David E

    Crapo. At least they are naming it aptly.

  • John C Carleton

    Nitwityahoo to US Senators. I am tired of Putin stopping you from stealing Syria for me, put more sanctions on Russia.
    Senators, “we would look like fools”.
    You rather have the videos of you raping children and taking bribes to sellout the American people?’
    Senators, “We think sanctions are a GOOD idea!’

  • TrevorD

    A true indictment of those in politics who bare no backbone nor reasoning, nor any fundamental humanistic beliefs to enhance the good of others. Most are bought off criminal political prostitutes willing to sell their souls for money, power and to protect the secrets they want forever buried. Hence they are indeed high level slaves to the system and they know to escape or vote/voice out of line could be a little damaging to their health to say the very least.

    • TrevorD

      “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined the chorus of criticism over a new US anti-Russia sanctions bill that would involve fines on EU companies contributing to joint pipeline projects, saying Washington has nothing to do with Europe’s energy policy.” (RT News)
      Dead right its nothing to do with Washington, Butt out of European business and focus on your own crumbling economy….. These stupid bully boy psycho`s make my blood boil….

  • Rick E.

    “Aggressive behavior”. Yeah shame on Russia for moving its borders so close to NATO! How can someone with a half of a brain believe this drivel?!
    Sanction them for WHAT AGAIN!?
    Our “leaders” are as imbecilic as they are morally and intellectual bankrupt!

  • Nexusfast123

    These people are imbeciles drunk on ignorance and hubris.

  • dav1bg

    What a joke, the president still has to sign it into law. What a bunch of idiots we have elected.

    • NonYo Business

      We didn’t elect them. They’ve been electing themselves for years. Why do you think voters booth’s are now digital?

  • RandyJ/ProudSurvivor

    US policy toward Russia is following a similar pattern to the one used against Japan just before WWII. Reliance upon an old script to help fashion a new one seems to be taking place. Our policies were developed specifically to incite the Japanese government and most Americans were taken by utter surprise by the attack at Pearl Harbor. A surprise attack by Russia would be considerably more devastating-and effective-and directed at more than just a few military targets. Someone must want a war VERY badly as the evolving policy is beyond insane. It is ever more important to remember who has the fortified bunkers-and who doesn’t.