According to those who lead the negotiations on the legislative process, senators have made a deal to this week to submit to a vote a comprehensive draft law on sanctions against Russia.
This measure will be tied to a bill to toughen sanctions against Iran. It includes proposals for codification of existing sanctions against Russia, the introduction of punitive measures against Moscow in light of the aggressive activities of Russia in Ukraine, implementation of measures aimed at solving the problems of Syria and the scope of cyberhackers. This step should provide the Congress an opportunity to reconsider the administration’s efforts to reduce sanctions against Russia before they are approved.
The majority leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky) filed an amendment at the end of the day on Monday by scheduling a vote this week, after talks with the Chairman of the foreign relations Committee Bob Corker (Republican, Tennessee tat) and Chairman of the banking Committee Mike Krapo (Republican, Idaho). Senate minority leader Charles Schumer (Democrat, new York), Democrat of the international relations Committee, Benjamin L. Cardin (Maryland), a Democrat of the banking Committee, Sherrod brown (Ohio) and loud criticism of Russia John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) was also involved in various stages of discussion.
“This comprehensive law,” said Corker on Monday evening after the presentation of the measures. “It really applies to all components”.
Various senators who participated in discussions, submitted three different bills to strengthen sanctions against Russia for its involvement in the wars in Ukraine and Syria, as well as the accusation that Russia intervened in the U.S. presidential election in 2016. Some of the proposed bills also provided for the extension of the powers of Congress, which would block the ability of the President to ease sanctions against Russia and more effectively counter Russian propaganda in the United States and Europe.
Corker said he has prepared a fourth bill about three months ago, which took into account several points, but his office did not publish the proposed document.
Measures, submitted Monday night, provide for sanctions against defense and intelligence apparatus of Russia and part of its energy, mining, Railways and shipping. They also include provisions on the punishment of persons implicated in corruption and human rights violations.
In a statement, Schumer said the new measure “will be a powerful warning to both parties for Russia and any other country that may try to interfere in our elections, that they will be punished”.
The Senate refrained from filing such a bill on sanctions to the vote largely because Corker wanted to give the administration more time to try to make progress together with Russia in Syria. But, as he repeated on Monday evening, he did not hope for the runaway success of the administration.
“I wanted to give [Secretary of state Rex] Tillerson about two weeks, said Corker. I’ve been ready all this time.”
When asked whether the White house with this measure, Corker hesitated. “I have to believe that the administration should at least seriously consider to support this decision,” he said.
However, he is confident that this can get resistant to a veto level of support in the Senate.