Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal – The Hill (blog)

The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia and giving Congress the ability to block President Trump from lifting current penalties.

Senators voted 98-2 on the bill, which also includes new sanctions targeting Iran’s ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, transfer of weapons and human rights violations. Sens. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Defense: Senate approves Russia, Iran sanctions | GOP chair expects to surpass Trump defense budget | Nude photo scandal could lead to court-martial Overnight Healthcare: GOP brushes off Trump calling health bill ‘mean’ | Big decision for insurers | Trump order on drug pricing in the works Russian sanctions bill faces uncertain path in House MORE (R-Ky.) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Defense: Senate approves Russia, Iran sanctions | GOP chair expects to surpass Trump defense budget | Nude photo scandal could lead to court-martial Overnight Cybersecurity: NSA links Wanna Cry ransomware to North Korea | Dem proposes center to counter Russian hacks | Senators raise questions about leaker’s security clearance OPINION: We must reject toxic rhetoric after violence in Virginia MORE (I-Vt.) voted against the measure.

The legislation marks the Senate’s most significant check on the Trump administration’s foreign policy, which has flirted with lifting sanctions in an bid to entice Moscow into an agreement.

The bill now heads to the House, where it faces an uncertain future amid signs of pushback from the administration.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to use a House Foreign Affairs hearing this week to telegraph concerns about the bill, warning lawmakers against undercutting “constructive dialogue” with Russia.”I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions,” he told lawmakers.

Those comments appeared to have little impact in the Senate, where the legislation was expected to get wide bipartisan support after GOP Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeMurkowski: ‘I just truly do not know’ if I can support GOP health bill Rand Paul denounces ‘new entitlements’ in emerging health bill Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal MORE (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) were the only lawmakers to oppose including the Russia sanctions deal in the legislation.

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