-- The House of Representatives today passed sweeping sanctions that would punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression toward its neighbors.
“The multitude of threats posed to our national security by Iran, Russia and North Korea cannot be understated,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said after the vote. “These bad actors have long sought to undermine the United States and disrupt global stability. Our job in Congress is to hold them accountable. The bill we just passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is one of the most expansive sanctions packages in history. It tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe.”
Three Republicans — Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — voted against the measure.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where an earlier version passed with another bipartisan tally, 98-2.
But with the upper chamber consumed with health care reform, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said it’s possible the package may not face a vote on final passage before the August recess.
He lamented the process for getting the legislation passed, telling reporters today on Capitol Hill, “It would have been much cleaner just to send Russia and Iran over. That was the language everyone agreed to.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York urged his Republicans colleagues to take up the bill as soon as possible.
“Senate Republican leaders should move this bill as soon as possible, so that it can be on the president’s desk without delay. Passing the bill on a bipartisan basis will send a strong signal to the White House that the Kremlin needs to be held accountable for meddling in last year’s election,” he wrote in a statement.
The White House has sent contradictory signals on whether Trump will sign the legislation, though it appears to have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
“He’s going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like,” incoming White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday.
In a statement later, she said, “While the president supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the president’s desk.”