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White House committed to anti-Russian sanctions - spokesperson

26 June 2017

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest USA congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential election.

The bill establishes a review process for Congress to have a say whether the White House eases Russian Federation sanctions.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that the Trump administration is "committed to existing sanctions against Russia" but is "still reviewing the new Russian Federation sanctions amendment". Once the Iran bill passes the Senate, the legislation moves to the House for action.

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The Russia amendment include provisions to limit transactions and exports, put into law existing punishments laid out by the Obama administration and condemn the country's interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, one of the Senate bill's cosponsors, told reporters on Wednesday that the White House was already lobbying against the measure, Business Insider reported.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, said the amendment was also meant to recover from President Obama's term, when he circumvented Congress and used executive powers to try to shape sanctions. The vote was 97 to 2 for the legislation, filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill.

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Mike Crapo, joining with a bipartsan group of senators, is proposing a Russia sanctions bill that expands and strengthens sanctions on the Russian Federation.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee was initially hesitant to pass a new Russian Federation sanctions bill, but he played a key role in drafting the final language.

The U.S. relationship with Russian Federation is at an all-time low and deteriorating further, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday, yet he cautioned against taking steps that might close off promising avenues of communication between the two former Cold War foes. To take effect, the measure would also have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by Trump. "What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off". "If we can not make some progress, and I have told others in the Senate, I have had conversations with them, I may very well be coming to you and saying the time has come now to do this in order to motivate some movement on their part". Also included in the bill is an amendment strengthening sanctions for Russian officials who support cyberattacks against the USA and its allies.

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