Senate panel approves North Korea banking sanctions

Senate panel approves North Korea banking sanctions
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The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved new financial sanctions targeting North Korea and the businesses who help finance Kim Jong Un's government.

The proposed sanctions reflect efforts passed by the House and enacted via executive order by President Trump to bar any firm that does business with North Korea from the U.S. financial system.

The Banking panel voted to recommend the Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea (BRINK) Act after a Tuesday markup. The bill’s namesake was a college student from Ohio who died earlier this year after being imprisoned and tortured by North Korean officials while visiting the country in 2016.

“The time has come for the U.S. to take the lead to ensure that all nations work together to isolate the Kim regime until it has no choice but to change its dangerous, belligerent behavior,” said Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoLawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Republicans shift course after outside counsel falters MORE (R-Idaho) in a statement after the vote.

The bill targets the network of front companies, bank accounts, and private businesses the North Korean government uses to fund its military and operations.

“On a bipartisan basis, this Committee forged legislation that cuts to the heart of the North Korean regime by targeting the economic resources that Kim Jong-Un needs to stay in power and achieve his nuclear ambitions,” said Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence MORE (D-Ohio), the Banking panel’s ranking Democrat.

“We are sending a clear message to banks around the world — you can do business with North Korea, or with the U.S., but not both.”

The BRINK Act bans any bank that services a business or financial firm tied to the North Korean government from opening correspondent accounts in the U.S. Businesses connected to the Kim regime have long been banned from the U.S. financial system. These sanctions would target international banks that do business with North Korean firms from opening accounts for its clients in US banks.

The bill also requires Congress to review the effectiveness of the sanctions, and allows states and localities to divest from certain firms and industries linked to North Korea.