Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal On New Russia Sanctions

Senators on Monday evening reached a bipartisan deal to impose new sanctions on Russia over its attempts to meddle in the 2016 election, its involvement in the conflict in Syria and its invasion of Crimea.

The deal would also allow Congress to review any attempts by President Donald Trump to ease U.S. sanctions on Russia.

The deal, which was negotiated by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), will come up for a vote in the Senate on Wednesday, according to Politico. McConnell filed the deal Monday evening as an amendment to a bill upping sanctions on Iran, according to the Washington Post.

“By codifying existing sanctions and requiring Congressional review of any decision to weaken or lift them, we are ensuring that the United States continues to punish President Putin for his reckless and destabilizing actions,” Schumer said in a statement about the amendment. “These additional sanctions will also send a powerful and bipartisan statement to Russia and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished.”

The bill would have to pass the House before heading to Trump’s desk. The President has not publicly weighed in on the new Russia sanctions, and if the House passes the deal, it could force Trump to take a stance on Russia sanctions.

The Senate waited to propose a Russia sanctions deal because Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, wanted to give the Trump administration time to work with Russia on Syria policy, according to the Washington Post.

“I wanted to give [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson until two weeks ago,” Corker said, per the Post. “I’ve been ready the whole time.”

Corker said that he thinks Trump “has to at least strongly consider supporting this” but that the Senate may have a veto-proof majority supporting the bill, according to the Washington Post.

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