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

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Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerRussian sanctions bill faces uncertain path in House Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, also argued this week that the House has shown an appetite for passing new Russia sanctions bill. The lower chamber passed legislation late last year that would have targeted Russia and Iran for their backing of Assad.

Thursday’s vote capped off roughly a week and a half of negotiations over attaching new Russia penalties to the Iran sanctions bill, which already had brought bipartisan support.

A swath of lawmakers—including leadership, Corker, Sen. Mike CrapoMike CrapoSenate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle Treasury finally releases reform plan, but Senate snafu awaits MORE (R-Idaho), top Democrats on the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations committees and Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Senate votes to continue arming Saudis As Yemenis suffer the consequences Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle MORE (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenSenate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle Overnight Cybersecurity: Sessions denies Russia collusion | First agency gets ‘A’ grade on IT | Feds out North Korean botnet | Unusual security update for Windows XP MORE (D-N.H.)—were locked in negotiations for roughly a week trying to hash out an agreement.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerMcConnell dodges on Trump’s ‘witch hunt’ tweets: ‘I don’t have any observations about that’ Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Overnight Cybersecurity: Russian sanctions deal clears Senate hurdle | How nations rank on internet port security MORE (D-N.Y.) praised the legislation ahead of the vote, noting it would send a signal to Russian President Vladimir Putin and show lawmakers can still work together.

“The final result is a very good one for our country, because… the U.S. Senate said to Mr. Putin in no uncertain terms, that when he violates the international norms and interferes with our election, he will not escape reproach,” Schumer said.

In addition to passing new Russia penalties, the Senate also voted to include a bipartisan amendment on Thursday morning that stressed the Senate’s support for NATO and the Article Five requirement that member states defend each other if one of them is attacked.

The Trump administration’s warmer tone toward Moscow and skepticism of NATO has sparked bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are deeply skeptical of Putin.

Trump omitted committing the NATO’s “Article Five” during a meeting in Brussels late last month, before pledging to support the requirement during a press conference last week with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

The administration has gone back-and-forth over lifting sanctions on Russia.

Gary Cohn, director of the White House National Economic Council, said last month that the administration wouldn’t weaken Russia sanctions, adding that, “If anything, we could probably look to get tougher.”

Cohn’s comments were a clarification of earlier remarks in which he said the president didn’t have a position on Russia sanctions.

The administration has also sparked concern over reports that it could hand back two diplomatic compounds in the United States to Russia.

 

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