Senate Votes to Make it Harder for Trump to Lift Russia Sanctions

Senate passes bill to impose new sanctions on Iran

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest USA congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential election.

The legislation sets up a review process that would require Trump to get Congress' approval before taking any action to ease, suspend or lift any sanctions on Russian Federation.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Wednesday released the following statement after the Senate overwhelmingly passed an amendment to strengthen and expand current U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation during consideration of the Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which was authored by Senator Corker and is expected to pass the Senate this week.

The measure sets up a process for Congress to review changes in sanctions, puts into law actions previously established via presidential executive order, and imposes new sanctions on Russians found guilty of human rights abuses or conducting cyber attacks.

Last December, the Obama administration responded to Russia's provocations with sanctions on Russia's central intelligence services.

The intelligence community, however, has concluded that Russian Federation played a role in the presidential election held last November.

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Sen. Sherrod Brown of OH, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, said Trump's failure to act could embolden Russian Federation and lead to interference in future USA elections. 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 two senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah). He also said the bill sets an example of how the Senate can work together on complex, hard issues.

"I'm concerned about it, but I don't really have the ability to dictate what the White House says to the House", Sen. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.

The House has yet to take up the measure, which is an amendment to a bill that tightens sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile tests. The bill also included a suite of sanctions against Iran.

The only two votes against the Russia-Iran sanctions deal came from GOP Sens. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to push back at the legislation Wednesday at a House hearing.

The new bill would slap sanctions on companies in other countries looking to invest in those projects in the absence of United States companies, a practice known as backfilling.

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