Senators strike deal on new round of Russian Federation sanctions

"The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russian Federation in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyber-attacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria", said Republicans and Democrats on the committees.

A statement from Republican and Democratic leaders on the Senate banking committee said the amendment "expands sanctions against the government of Russian Federation in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria".

The new deal also allows Congress to review and even block any future decision by Trump to remove all or part of the anti-Moscow bans within 30 days - or 60 days when Congress goes to recess around August. The comprehensive package will be attached to the Iran Sanctions Act, a bill solidifying sanctions against Iran.

"We think that is a fundamental policy shift for the United States that needs to be done in sunlight and therefore a review of Congress is urgent", says Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Corker told reporters the Russian Federation deal would provide for congressional review of any future rollbacks of Russian Federation sanctions, a plan pushed by Schumer as well as Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The bipartisan amendment expands existing sanctions on Russian Federation. "A bill working its way through Beacon Hill would help ensure that more of the state's almost 700,000 eligible citizens who are not registered to vote are able to cast ballots on Election Day".

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Several lawmakers are involved in the talks, including Cardin, Corker, Graham, top members of the Senate Banking Committee and Sen.

The bill and its amendment need approval from the full Senate and the House of Representatives before heading to Trump's desk for final approval.

The legislation also allows new penalties on key elements of the Russian Federation economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.

While Maryland's Senator Ben Cardin admitted to reporters that "there's no administration that wants Congress interfering" with its sanctions, he believes "we'll have the support of the administration" for any bipartisan Russian Federation deal that might pass this week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately praised the deal, urging the House to also pass it quickly.

The president has said he hopes he can forge closer ties with Moscow - a goal unlikely to be met with sanctions in place. But the administration has initiated a cozier relationship with Putin, even discussing returning its diplomatic compounds and easing sanctions on Russia's oil industry.

  • Sonia Alvarado