US Senate backs sanctions on Russia over alleged election hacking

US senators near deal on Russia sanctions

Senators struck a deal on Russia sanctions

On Wednesday, United States Senate has overwhelming voted to make way for allowing new sanctions against Russian Federation in order to punish the latter's alleged interference in the USA election of 2016.

In a rare show of bipartisanship on foreign policy, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday for a bill that would toughen sanctions on Russian Federation for interfering in the 2016 US elections, as well slap new sanctions on Iran for efforts to expand its long range missile program.

The bill establishes a review process for Congress to have a say whether the White House eases Russian Federation sanctions. It also imposes new sanctions in a number of categories, including those "conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government" and "supplying weapons to the Assad regime".

The Trump administration reportedly is weighing the return of Russian compounds on US soil seized by the Obama administration, and the president has repeatedly expressed a desire for better relations with Moscow while downplaying the impact of Russia's cyber activities. "The Foreign Affairs Committee is reviewing the details in this latest sanctions package being voted on in the Senate, and after that we will determine a path ahead in the House".

The anti-Iran sanctions come following two sets of sanctions that were rolled out in February and May by the US Treasury Department over Iran's missile program.

The new measures are presented in the form of an amendment to the draft law on the application of sanctions against Iran.

The legislation would also restrict the White House from easing sanctions in the future without congressional approval. 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.

Though there's little dispute over Russia's interference in the election, questions remain over the goal and extent of the meddling.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will hold a vote to add the amendment to an Iran sanctions bill, S. 722, being debated this week.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul, (R-KY) were the no votes. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and ranking committee member Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said the plan left him with no good choice.

"Oh, I think he will sign it into law", Corker said of Trump.

Then-President in late December ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the US said were really spies.

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