Graham, Van Hollen introduce Turkey sanctions bill

Graham, Van Hollen introduce Turkey sanctions bill
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Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath Lindsey Graham: GOP can't 'move forward without President Trump' House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE (R-S.C.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenIs America slipping to autocracy? Trade representative says policy must protect key industries Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (D-Md.) formally introduced a bill on Thursday to slap additional sanctions on Turkey in the wake of Ankara's invasion of northern Syria.

The bill, according to details released by the two senators, would target Turkey's energy sector and military as well as assets of top Turkish officials within U.S. jurisdiction and limit their ability to travel to the United States.

Graham told reporters during a news conference that the proposed financial penalties were "wide-ranging and hard-hitting."


"We appreciate what the president did with sanctions against Turkey, we're here to add to it. To supplement what the president did," Graham said. "Congress is going to speak with a very firm singular voice that we will impose sanctions against the strongest measure possible." 

Van Hollen added in a statement that "we must move forward on these sanctions and apply real pressure to Turkey to end this madness.”

In addition to Graham and Van Hollen, the sanctions bill is being backed by 14 additional senators—evenly divided by Republicans and Democrats. 

In addition to applying sanctions against Turkey, the bill includes a formal sense of Congress opposing Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria. 

The sanctions legislation comes as lawmakers are weighing how to respond to President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders: Reinstating SALT deduction 'sends a terrible, terrible message' GOP braces for wild week with momentous vote One quick asylum fix: How Garland can help domestic violence survivors MORE's decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria, paving the way for the Turkish invasion.

Trump has left Republicans fuming over his decision. He sparked a new wave of outrage on Wednesday when he said the Kurds were "no angels."

It's unclear what, if any, legislation will get a vote on the Senate floor.

"We got the potential for Turkish sanctions, we're looking at that," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP braces for wild week with momentous vote GOP divided over expected Cheney ouster Sunday shows - White House COVID-19 response coordinator says US is 'turning the corner' MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters on Wednesday.

Even as Graham and Van Hollen were introducing their bill, Sens. Jim RischJim Elroy RischAny reduction in Energy Department's cybersecurity resources a mistake Biden cancels military-funded border wall projects Senate panel greenlights sweeping China policy bill MORE (R-Idaho) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezJuan Williams: A breakthrough on immigration? Biden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line MORE (D-N.J.) introduced another bill related to Syria.

The House also easily passed a resolution on Wednesday that would formally break with Trump's decision and urge Turkey to end its military action, with only 60 lawmakers voting against it.

But it's unclear if the Senate will take up the resolution.

McConnell noted on Thursday that he personally would support a stronger resolution.

"I believe it's important that we make a strong forward-looking strategic statement. For that reason my preference would be for something even stronger than the resolution that the House passed yesterday, which has some serious weaknesses," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

Updated: 8 p.m.