Graham, Van Hollen introduce Turkey sanctions bill

Graham, Van Hollen introduce Turkey sanctions bill
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Sens. 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.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenDemocratic senators offer bill to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers Senators push for Turkey sanctions after reports Ankara used Russian system to detect US-made jets Lawmakers step up push for administration to make payroll tax deferral optional for federal workers 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 John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus 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 McConnellPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Schumer labels McConnell's scheduled coronavirus stimulus vote as 'a stunt' Pelosi gives White House 48-hour deadline for coronavirus stimulus deal MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters on Wednesday.

Even as Graham and Van Hollen were introducing their bill, Sens. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischWhy the US should rely more on strategy, not sanctions Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump Senators blast Turkey's move to convert Hagia Sophia back into a mosque MORE (R-Idaho) and 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.) 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.