US Senate Approves Russia Sanctions

The Russia amendment was part of a larger measure that targets Iran for sanctions over its ballistic missile program, human rights violations, and other issues.

Senate Democrats expressed concerns to Politico that the extremely busy news cycle related to the investigations surrounding Russian Federation and Trump may ironically allow the administration to block or stall this legislation created to punish Russian Federation.

The legislation, which now moves to the House, also gives Capitol Hill a much stronger hand in determining Russian Federation sanctions policy.

During the hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson urged senators to oppose the measure so that Trump and his administration would have "the flexibility to turn the heat up" if necessary.

The bipartisan legislation passed overwhelmingly Thursday, 98-2, more than five months after US intelligence agencies determined Moscow had deliberately interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign. However, he would have to reject new sanctions against Iran, which he supports, to derail the latest congressional effort to punish Russian Federation.

A senior administration official said the White House is unhappy with measures in the Senate bill created to limit Trump's ability to ease the sanctions without congressional approval.

In the past week, the Republican-held Senate has narrowly approved an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and overwhelmingly passed measures that affirm the US's commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and prevent Trump from easing sanctions on Russian Federation without congressional approval.

The American Jewish Committee praised the bill's passage.

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The bill as originally introduced was exclusively about slapping new sanctions on Iran. Chuck Schumer of NY, the minority leader, said Wednesday.

Corker, too, sounded pleased that the bill effectively ties a president's hands when it comes to unwinding certain sanctions on Russian Federation.

"But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015", Sanders added.

It also applies terrorism-related sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and re-enforces aspects of the arms embargo on Iran.

Asked where Tillerson stood on the legislation, Corker said he wasn't sure, but noted that the bill "strikes a great balance" between executive and legislative power.

The legislation was loudly endorsed by Israel lobbying group AIPAC, and Sen.

The Senate approved the bill 98-2, with Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont voting against the measure.

But as the inquiries examine whether members of Trump's campaign discussed easing sanctions on Russian Federation after Trump won the election, Congress is hitting the brakes on any possibility of warmer relations with the country that's U.S. intelligence agencies say tried to meddle in the United States democratic process.

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