Overwhelming Majority in US Senate Votes to Continue Russia Sanctions

The US Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for new sanctions punishing Russian Federation for meddling in the 2016 US election, and to force President Donald Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions.The bill passed 98-2, with Kentucky senator Rand Paul and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders voting against it. Lawmakers had overwhelmingly agreed on Wednesday to attach a batch of Russian Federation sanctions to the Iran bill, after calls from both sides of the aisle to push Kremlin-related sanctions through.The Russia sanctions measure was added as an amendment to an Iranian sanctions bill, after a deal was struck between the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking Committees.The US Congress has been empowered to block any efforts by President Donald Trump to scale back sanctions against Russian Federation.MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that new US sanctions on Russia will damage ties between the two countries.As for those opposed to the measure, Sen.”Democrats and Republicans are joining together to warn the president he can not lift sanctions without our approval”, the NY senator said.In a rare moment of bipartisan unity, the Senate voted 97 to two to approve the sanctions, with only Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky voting against. Broad new sanctions would be imposed on Russia’s mining, metals, shipping and railways sectors.Senior aides told Reuters they expected some sanctions package would eventually pass, but they expected the measure would be changed in the House.The Senate easily passed legislation Thursday that would impose additional sanctions against Russian Federation and limit the president’s power to lift them in the future. “But I believe that these new sanctions could endanger the very important nuclear agreement that was signed between the United States, its partners and Iran in 2015″. The bill includes a mechanism requiring congressional review of any decision to ease the Russian Federation sanctions.The amendment provides for an expedited process by which Congress can have hearings and then a vote on whether or not the reject the President’s proposed lifting of any or all of the sanctions.”For too long, the message to Vladimir Putin has been that Russia can invade its neighbors, threaten U.S. allies, intensify its cyberattacks, and interfere with foreign elections with very little repercussion”, said Senator John McCain, a strident critic of the Russian leader.The measure would then apply new sanctions against Russian Federation for its activities in Syria, where the Kremlin is supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and for its meddling in last year’s US presidential election.