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) MenendezWilliam Barr is right man for the times This week: Trump delivers State of the Union amid wall fight BuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president MORE (D-N.J.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: More urgent for kids in Kentucky to have secure border than new school 
 White House, GOP defend Trump emergency declaration Limbaugh calls 25th Amendment discussions 'silent coup' 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 GardnerBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Dems seeking path to Senate majority zero-in on Sun Belt Lawmakers eager for 5G breakthrough MORE (R-Colo.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinBipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia Baseball legend Frank Robinson, first black manager in MLB, dies at 83 Biden speaking to Dems on Capitol Hill as 2020 speculation mounts: report MORE (D-Md.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenCongress must step up to protect Medicare home health care Dems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants Bipartisan Senators reintroduce legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia 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.