In a joint effort, Republican and Democratic senators introduced legislation on Thursday to impose stiff new sanctions on Russia and combat cyber crime over its alleged interference in U.S. elections and activities in Syria and Ukraine, Reuters informed.
The legislation includes restrictions on new Russian sovereign debt transactions, energy and oil projects and Russian uranium imports, and new sanctions on Russian political figures and oligarchs. The bill also expresses strong support for NATO and would require that two-thirds of the Senate to vote in favor of any effort to leave the alliance.
As a reaction to the measure, the rouble slumped toward two-week lows, Reuters adds. Congress passed a Russia sanctions bill last summer but some lawmakers weren’t pleased at what they saw as President Donald Trump’s reluctance to implement it; he signed it only after Congress passed it with huge majorities.
“The current sanctions regime has failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said, one of the measure’s lead sponsors.
“This bill is the next step in tightening the screws on the Kremlin and will bring to bear the full condemnation of the United States Congress so that Putin finally understands that the U.S. will not tolerate his behavior any longer,” Democratic Senator Bob Menendez pointed out.
Republicans and Democrats were united last month in condemning Trump’s failure to publicly condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections. However, Congress failed to pass anything before lawmakers left Washington for their weeks-long summer recess, Reuters adds.