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Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia

A bipartisan group of senators is renewing their effort to slap new sanctions on Russia over its 2016 election interference and activities in Ukraine and Syria. 

The bill, spearheaded by Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWatchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' Senators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report MORE (D-N.J.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw RNC chairwoman: Republicans should realize distancing themselves from Trump 'is hurting themselves in the long run' Latest Mnuchin-Pelosi call produces 'encouraging news on testing' for stimulus package MORE (R-S.C.), includes a wide array of new financial penalties targeting Russia's energy sectors, financial institutions and "political figures, oligarchs, and family members and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Vladimir Putin."

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In addition to sanctions, it would also require a two-thirds vote for the United States to leave NATO and force the State Department to determine if Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism. 

Menendez said the sanctions bill comes as Congress is reaching a "boiling point" on Trump's "willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression."

"We are introducing a proposal to actually address the realities of the Kremlin threat in a holistic way, all while sending a crystal clear message to our adversaries that the U.S Congress will protect our institutions, allies and values even if the President chooses not to do so," Menendez said. 

Graham added that the sanctions included in the bill, which he previously termed the "sanctions bill from hell," will be "the most hard-hitting ever imposed."

In addition to Graham and Menendez, Sens. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Democratic super PAC pulls remaining ads from Colorado Senate race Exclusive: Poll shows Affordable Care Act challenge a liability for McConnell at home MORE (R-Colo.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPelosi hopeful COVID-19 relief talks resume 'soon' Congress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out PPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  MORE (D-Md.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenJustice indicts two members of ISIS 'Beatles' cell ISIS militants expected to be sent to US for prosecution: report New Hampshire poll finds Biden up 8 points over Trump MORE (D-N.H.) have signed onto the bill.

Trump's warmer rhetoric toward Russia has sparked years of heartburn for lawmakers, who have repeatedly and publicly broken with the administration's policy toward Moscow. 

Senators initially introduced the legislation in August 2018 as lawmakers grew increasingly concerned that Russia would try to interfere in the 2018 elections. 

But talk of passing new sanctions immediately ran into roadblocks with some Republicans questioning if new penalties were needed after lawmakers passed a Russia sanctions bill in 2017 over the opposition of the White House.