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. 

 
"[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 (Bob) MenendezDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Biden under pressure to spell out Cuba policy Senators to Biden: 'We must confront the reality' on Iran nuclear program MORE (D-N.J.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMSNBC's Joy Reid pans Manchin, Sinema as the 'no progress caucus' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists Biden defense budget criticized by Republicans, progressives alike MORE (R-S.C.) with a proposal from Sen. Cory GardnerCory GardnerBiden administration reverses Trump changes it says 'undermined' conservation program Gardner to lead new GOP super PAC ahead of midterms OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court rules against fast-track of Trump EPA's 'secret science' rule | Bureau of Land Management exodus: Agency lost 87 percent of staff in Trump HQ relocation | GM commits to electric light duty fleet by 2035 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. 

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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."