Senate trying to insert Russia sanctions into popular Iran bill

Senate trying to insert Russia sanctions into popular Iran bill
© Greg Nash

A bipartisan group of senators is attempting to enact more severe sanctions against Russia by inserting them into a popular sanctions bill on Iran.

Top senators like Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump 'on to something' with attacks on Dem congresswomen Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Senate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime MORE (R-Ky.), the heads of the Senate Foreign Relations and the Banking committees, and other lawmakers are aiming to attach the Russia sanctions as an amendment to a bill that cracks down on Iran’s ballistic missile program. The legislation will likely be taken up by the Senate on Wednesday.

"We'll anticipate that amendments addressing Russia sanctions are likely to be offered," McConnell said Wednesday.

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"I'm encouraged that the chairmen of the Foreign Relations and Banking committees, Sen. [Bob] Corker [R-Tenn.] and Sen. [Mike] Crapo [R-Iadho], have already been in discussion with their respective ranking members to work toward a bipartisan agreement. I support that effort." 

The vote on the amendment comes shortly before intelligence officials are set to testify about Russia’s alleged interference in the presidential election and a day before former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

It is unclear what the amendment will include, though it will likely include elements of other sanctions legislation that has been introduced in the Senate.

Crapo and Banking Committee ranking member Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (D-Ohio) introduced one bill that aimed to codify former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTrump averages highest approval rating of his presidency in second quarter: Gallup The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations MORE’s sanctions that he first imposed in 2014 after escalated Russia aggression in Ukraine.

A second bill by Sens. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCan new US Strategy on Women, Peace & Security give women a real seat at the table? Ask Afghan women Maryland lawmakers slam 'despicable' Trump remark about journalists on newsroom shooting anniversary Democrats leery of Sanders plan to cancel student loan debt MORE (D-Md.) and John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain promotes July 17 as #GBMday to raise awareness of father's cancer The peculiar priorities of Adam Schiff Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Lindsey Graham: 'Graham wants to bring back 1950s McCarthyism' MORE (R-Ariz.), as well as and other senators from both sides of the aisle, also proposed to codify existing sanctions while adding more stringent restrictions on the Russian energy, intelligence and defense sectors. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate passes bill making hacking voting systems a federal crime Graham: Trump's attacks on minority congresswomen more 'narcissism' than racism Meghan McCain promotes July 17 as #GBMday to raise awareness of father's cancer MORE (R-S.C.), Cardin and other lawmakers offered a third bill this year that would allow Congress to veto a decision by the president to roll back Russian sanctions.

All of the senators behind the proposed bills have been part of the talks to add Russia sanctions to the Iran missile bill, aides told The Washington Post.

— This story was updated at 9:51 a.m.