Senate locks down North Korea sanctions vote
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The Senate will vote next week on legislation to crack down on North Korea after the country said it tested a hydrogen bomb. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellParliamentarian deals setback to GOP repeal bill OPINION | How Democrats stole the nation's lower federal courts Flight restrictions signal possible August vacation for Trump MORE (R-Ky) said the Senate will take up sanctions legislation on Feb. 10 and have a final vote after up to seven hours of debate. 
 
"[It's a] very important piece of legislation that I'm pleased to say the whole Senate thinks ought to be taken up and voted on and passed, and it will be an important change in our policy toward this rogue regime," the Republican leader said after setting up the vote. 
 
 
The committee approved the legislation by voice vote last month after lawmakers worked to combine legislation from Sens. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezBipartisan group, Netflix actress back bill for American Latino Museum The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations MORE (D-N.J.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamBusiness pressure ramps up against Trump's Ex-Im nominee Senators who have felt McCain's wrath talk of their respect for him McCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty MORE (R-S.C.) with a proposal from Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerInterior recommends preserving Colorado site's monument status Overnight Energy: Exxon sues feds over M fine | Deputy Interior pick advances | Oil concerns hold up Russia sanctions push Senate advances controversial Trump Interior nominee MORE (R-Colo.). 
 
The Senate legislation goes further than a House bill that passed in January
 
Under the Senate proposal, the Obama administration is required to sanction anyone involved with North Korea's nuclear weapons program, arms-related materials, luxury goods, human rights abuses, activities that negatively impact cybersecurity and the use of coal or metals in any of the activities.

Penalties would include freezing assets under U.S. jurisdiction, banning individuals from traveling to the United States or blocking government contracts.

McConnell's move will also help the legislation avoid any potential landmines that could pop up if a senator tried to offer a controversial amendment—similar to what happened when the Senate debated legislation allowing Congress to review the Iran nuclear deal. 

Cardin voiced concern that so-called "poison pill" amendments could get attached to the otherwise uncontroversial proposal. 

"The question is what happens on the floor of the Senate," he told The Hill last week. "I think Senator Corker and I can defend the bill [on North Korea] but if it gets into other areas, you never know."