US OKs sanctions bill to punish Russia

The Senate easily passed legislation Thursday that would impose additional sanctions against Russian Federation and limit the president's power to lift them in the future.

The White House has not said if Trump would sign or veto the legislation, which would have to be passed by the House of Representatives before it could go to the president's desk.

The question of new Russian sanctions has been raised by a number of senators in both parties after the intelligence community announced in January its conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of President Donald Trump.

The Senate foreign relations committee's chairman Senator Bob Corker had initially shown an unwillingness to handle a bill on Russian Federation sanctions in his committee. "Any idea of the president that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation", CNN quotes Sen.

The amendment is being attached to an Iran sanctions bill aimed at punishing Tehran for its "continued support of terrorism".

The Senate voted 98 to 2, today, to pass the underlying Iran sanctions legislation as amended.

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Despite the overwhelming vote, the Russian Federation sanctions package was no sure thing.

State Department press officials did not return requests for comment on the amendment. Testifying this week on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the need to take action against Russian Federation but warned against measures that would cut off dialogue with Moscow. "I think what I wouldn't want to do is to close the channels off with something new that's ill-timed".

The White House stressed that it is committed to the existing Russian sanctions regime that it believes is best suited to address United States concerns and would keep sanctions in place until Russia resolves the situation in Ukraine.

A source in Capitol Hill hinted that the White House is not opposed to Congress moves to scale through the bill, in spite of varying signals from #President Trump and his administration, the source said.

"I called over myself yesterday and just shared some thoughts with them". Bob Corker saying: "Look, this bill is going to become law". As an example, Tillerson said talks with Moscow on stabilizing war-ravaged Syria are progressing, but it's too early to tell if the discussions will bear fruit. The Senate is considering the bill this week. "At this point, the only way to change Putin's cost-benefit analysis is to increase the pressure we apply directly through sanctions".

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