The US Senate has overwhelmingly passed an amendment to strengthen and expand the current sanctions against Russian Federation, sending a "strong" signal to President Vladimir Putin over territorial violation in Crimea, alleged meddling in elections and aggression in Syria.
Russian Federation and the West have traded economic blows since 2014, when Moscow annexed Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and lent support to separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The amendment, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said, offers the sanctions "the Kremlin deserves for its actions". The amendment requires congressional review before any sanctions are lifted, and allows for new ones.
According to Politico, a senior administration official stated that the "White House is concerned that the legislation would tie its hands on U.S. -Russia relations". Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. voting against it.
These additional sanctions will also send a powerful and bipartisan statement to Russian Federation and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished, Schumer added.
The Senate and House of Representatives still need to sign off on the full bill before it would reach Trump's desk for final approval.
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It was introduced amid an intense focus in the U.S. capital on relations with Russian Federation, and investigations by the Department of Justice and congressional committees of whether Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 elections to help elect Trump, and whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow as it sought to influence the election.
President Trump and Moscow have always denied any collusion.
However, Sen. Robert Menendez was skeptical, telling Politico, "I just cannot fathom how House Republicans could ultimately, with everything that's going on with Russia's nefarious actions, try to either deep-six the bill or dramatically change it".
"This is a very, very strong piece of legislation", Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker said on the Senate floor. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, the second member who voted against the sanctions amendment, said that sanctions against Iran or Russian Federation are like "tweaking their nose" and not effective. But in a Senate panel Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against passing a measure, saying it would make it more hard to improve U.S.
Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN. Bernie Sanders. Sanders says he's anxious the legislation, which also includes sanctions against Iran, could hurt the Iranian nuclear deal.