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Russia Sanctions Expected To Be Added To Iran Sanctions Bill

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said amendments placing stronger sanctions on Russia will likely be tacked onto a popular bipartisan Iran sanctions bill slated to be voted on this week.

There has been strong bipartisan support to use the legislation — slated to be acted upon Wednesday — as a tool to take a harder line with the country.

“Senators today will have an opportunity to advance important, bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation. As we consider this bill we anticipate that amendments addressing Russia sanctions are likely to be offered,” McConnell said in a statement. “I am encouraged that the Chairmen of the Foreign Relations and Banking Committees, Senator Corker and Senator Crapo, have already been in discussions with their respective ranking members to work toward bipartisan agreement.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer applauded McConnell’s support of the amendments, saying tough sanctions are needed in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, human rights abuses and their role in meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Schumer said he believes there are three things the sanctions need to accomplish.

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“First, we must codify existing sanctions on Russia. Second, we need to give Congress a chance to review any decisions by this administration before sanctions are lifted,” he said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “And third, we need to impose tough new sanctions on Russia for its attack on our democracy.”

Schumer argued Russian President Vladimir Putin will continue his behavior if action isn’t taken soon.

“It is certainly our responsibility and the responsibility of this Congress to vote on a tough Russia sanctions bill as a response to Russia’s persistent violation of international norms and agreements,” he continued. “If we do nothing on Russia or if we have a weak bill, we will not accomplish that goal and Mr. Putin will continue to do everything he is doing. We know sanctions have bite with Russia.”

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio introduced an amendment that would codify sanctions put in place by former President Barack Obama in 2014.

GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland put forward a separate amendment which would codify sanctions while increasing restrictions on energy, intelligence and defense sectors, The Hill reports.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Cardin also proposed a measure allowing Congress to veto the administration from lifting Russian sanctions.

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