Senate sends sanctions bill to Trump’s desk
The U.S. Senate passed on Thursday the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (H.R. 3364) which outlines sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
The measure, already passed by the House of Representatives passed the Senate by a 98-2 vote demonstrating a veto-proof majority should President Donald Trump decide to veto. But a veto is unlikely according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“The President and the administration support sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” Sanders told reporters. “We continue to support strong sanctions against those three countries.”
Senator John McCain was clearly focused on the Russian section in the bill.
“This legislation finally holds Russia accountable for its brazen attack on America’s 2016 presidential election by imposing new sanctions, strengthening existing sanctions, and requiring congressional oversight of any attempt to ease sanctions on Russia,” said McCain.
The bill is broken into three title level sections, one each for Iran, North Korea and Russia.
Summary of Title I – Iran
This bill directs the President to impose sanctions against: (1) Iran’s ballistic missile or weapons of mass destruction programs, (2) the sale or transfer to Iran of military equipment or the provision of related technical or financial assistance, and (3) Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated foreign persons.
The President may impose sanctions against persons responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals in Iran.
The President may temporarily waive the imposition or continuation of sanctions under specified circumstances.
Summary of Title II – North Korea
Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act
The bill modifies and increases the President’s authority to impose sanctions on persons in violation of certain United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding North Korea.
U.S. financial institutions shall not establish or maintain correspondent accounts used by foreign financial institutions to provide indirect financial services to North Korea.
A foreign government that provides to or receives from North Korea a defense article or service is prohibited from receiving certain types of U.S. foreign assistance.
The bill provides sanctions against: (1) North Korean cargo and shipping, (2) goods produced in whole or part by North Korean convict or forced labor, and (3) foreign persons that employ North Korean forced laborers.
The State Department shall submit a determination regarding whether North Korea meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Summary of Title III – Russia
Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017
The President must submit for congressional review certain proposed actions to terminate or waive sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation.
Specified executive order sanctions against Russia shall remain in effect.
The President may waive specified cyber- and Ukraine-related sanctions.
The bill provides sanctions for activities concerning: (1) cyber security, (2) crude oil projects, (3) financial institutions, (4) corruption, (5) human rights abuses, (6) evasion of sanctions, (7) transactions with Russian defense or intelligence sectors, (8) export pipelines, (9) privatization of state-owned assets by government officials, and (10) arms transfers to Syria.
The Department of State shall work with the government of Ukraine to increase Ukraine’s energy security.
The bill: (1) directs the Department of the Treasury to develop a national strategy for combating the financing of terrorism, and (2) includes the Secretary of the Treasury on the National Security Council.