Bipartisan duo decries Obama administration's sector-by-sector sanctions strategy on Burma

The letter comes after human-rights champion Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn into parliament this week and the European Union last month lifted its sanctions for one year against Burma, also known as Myanmar. Webb paved the way for improved relations between the United States and Burma with his historic trip there three years ago, the first such visit in a decade.

"The United States alone is left holding the most restrictive sanctions on Burma," the letter says, "banning visas, imports, exports, financial services, foreign assistance and assistance by international financial institutions."

Administration officials have the power to unilaterally lift most sanctions via license, rescissions of executive orders and the like, Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Adam Szubin testified at a hearing of Webb's Foreign Relations subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The government also has the ability to maintain sanctions on specific individuals, including members of the former ruling military junta.