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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) MenendezJuan Williams: A breakthrough on immigration? Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line MORE (D-N.J.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHouse conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course McConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath 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 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.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinHouse panel advances bipartisan retirement savings bill Senate passes bipartisan B water infrastructure bill Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Md.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenKabul attack spurs fears over fate of Afghan women as US exits Bowser on Manchin's DC statehood stance: He's 'not right' If Taliban regains power, they would roll back rights for women: US intelligence 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.