In a rare showing of bipartisan agreement, the United States Senate voted by overwhelming majority to enact new sanctions against the Russian government on Wednesday. These sanctions directly address Russian cyber activities during the 2016 presidential election as well as Russia’s support of Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria.
The new sanctions, which were added as an amendment to a bill that aimed to increase sanctions on Iran, also includes language intended to make it more difficult for the sitting president to ease them if he sees fit. Under this bill, which will still require House and executive approval, easing or removing sanctions on Russia would require a congressional review process in order to move forward.
Blocking this bill would reject the stricter sanctions aimed at Iran that were a part of the original document, meaning an executive veto would not only block stiffer Russian sanctions, but ones the president would likely support on Iran as well.
Technically, the bill calls for tightening on existing sanctions and the addition of new ones directed at Russian individuals and organizations for allegations ranging from corruption to human rights violations. The sanctions also broadly target Russia’s mining, metals, shipping and railways sectors.