Sanctions bill introduced in attempts to “protect U.S. democracy” from the Kremlin.
U.S. lawmakers have introduced a “sanctions bill from hell” to keep Russian President Vladimir Putin along with other Russia oligarchs in their place. The bill aims to bring up additional sanctions against Putin family members as well as to pave the way for the United States to exit the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The legislation was pushed by Representative Lindsey Graham of South Carolina along with Foreign Relations Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.
The Graham-Menendez bill was introduced last week after Facebook disclosed that it has deleted phony accounts which security experts believe could be connected with Russian intelligence. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee met with external analysts to analyze how Russia has been using social media platforms to fuel crises within the American polity.
The Representatives Behind the Bill
Graham brought up the bill shortly before senators were to embark on a short August recess starting Wednesday. Armed Services Chairman John McCain of Arizona supported Graham on the bill, saying Putin was working to undermine the integrity of America in order to uphold Russian supremacy.
“We must confront this challenge — not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans. Because ultimately, Putin’s true aim is to undermine all of us — our country, our freedom, and all that America stands for,” McCain said.
According to Menendez, President Trump has failed to properly apply appropriate measures to limit Russian interference in American politics. He said the Kremlin is out to attack American democracy, while backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in terrorizing Syria and violating the sovereignty of Ukraine. Menendez stated that by passing the bill, Congress will push Russia to understand that any “Kremlin aggression will be met with consequences that will shake Putin’s regime to its foundation.”
Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado appended his signature to the legislation. Gardner had previously campaigned for the State Department to decide if Russia should be designated a state sponsor of terror–this provision is now included in the Graham-Menendez bill. Gardner emphasized that the United States must never repeat the errors whereby past administrations endeavored to get into bed with a nation that has historically posed a threat to the U.S. and its allies.