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) MenendezSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal Senate chairman schedules vote on Trump nominee under investigation MORE (D-N.J.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhy do Americans worry about North Korea? Senate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief Abrams announces endorsements in 7 Senate races 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 GardnerThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip For safety and economic recovery, Congress must prioritize cannabis banking GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE (R-Colo.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill Senate leaves for break without passing Paycheck Protection Program fix MORE (D-Md.) and Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Open Skies withdrawal throws nuclear treaty into question GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill 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.