Published: Mon, June 26, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

As penalty for 'election-meddling', US Senate approves new Russian Federation sanctions

The US Senate in Congress has voted almost unanimously to impose new sanctions against Iran and Russian Federation, setting up a possible confrontation with the administration of President Donald Trump as it attempts to improve relations with Moscow, PressTV reported.

Senators declined to comment publicly on what would be in the final bill but proposals under consideration included putting existing sanctions imposed by presidential executive order into law and imposing additional sanctions that might include some on Russia's energy sector.

Under the legislation, new sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in "malicious cyber activity". "This bill is the first time Congress has come together since the JCPOA, the Iran nuclear deal, to do just that", Corker added.

The amendment on Russian Federation, which passed in a 97-2 vote on Wednesday, was attached to a bill to strengthen sanctions on Iran.

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The U.S. Senate passed a bill on toughening sanctions against Russian Federation and increased pressure on Iran. The legislation was worked out by Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. voting against it. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel. They also target Russia's shipping, mining, and railway industries.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives.

The measure also asserts a role for Congress if the White House opts to ease any sanctions against Moscow.

Both Democratic and Republican members placed politics aside to offer prayers, support and camaraderie Wednesday, in an unusual show of unity on Capitol Hill.

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'Today the Senate has finally confronted Russian Federation for interfering in our elections.

Earlier this month, Yahoo News reported that the Trump administration secretly tried to eliminate Russia's economic sanctions. Regardless, GOP senators believe Trump would sign it, with Sen. Those penalties were on top of existing US sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine, which have damaged Russia's economy but had only limited impact on Putin's behavior. The review mechanism was styled after 2015 legislation pushed by Republicans and approved overwhelmingly in the Senate that gave Congress a vote on whether Obama could lift sanctions against Iran.

The administration official emphasized that the White House supports sanctions on Russian Federation and that the political ramifications of any veto have not been discussed yet. In Putin's calculus, the costs of the sanctions do not outweigh the benefits of occupying Crimea and contributing to unrest in Ukraine, continuing to support the Assad regime's assault on civilians in Syria, and conducting cyber-attacks on people, companies, and institutions.

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