The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to extend new financial sanctions against key U.S. adversaries, including Russia.
Included in the package, which passed 419 to 3, are new measures targeting key Russian officials in retaliation for that country’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as sanctions against Iran and North Korea in response to those nations’ weapons programs.
Members of the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have resisted the congressional push – in particular a provision attached to the Russian measures that would require Congress to sign off on any move to relieve those sanctions.
The legislation was revised last week to address some administration concerns, including its potential effect on overseas oil and gas projects that include Russian partners. But the bill passed Tuesday retains the congressional review requirement.
“These three regimes in different parts of the world are threatening vital U.S. interests, and they are destabilizing their neighbors,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) said Tuesday. “It is well past time that we forcefully respond.”The House voted hours after one of Trump’s closest advisers, son-in-law Jared Kushner, visited the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to give testimony on possible Russian involvement in the presidential campaign. Also Tuesday, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence interviewed former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who has had close ties with Ukraine’s former Moscow-aligned government.
In 2014, the European Union, the United States and several other countries imposed sanctions against Russia following its occupation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine. These restrictive measures were repeatedly extended and expanded. In particular, the talks on visa waiver and a new basic agreement on cooperation were suspended; several Russia’s officials were banned to travel to the EU while their assets were attached. Trade, financial, and military restrictions were introduced.