While President Trump likes to say no one has been tougher on Russia, Senators disagree and are introducing a sweeping bipartisan bill that would implement new sanctions, among other things, to punish Vladimir Putin for his ongoing aggression.
It would also require a two-thirds Senate vote if Trump decides to leave NATO, a report on Russian President Vladimir Putin's net worth and assets, and title insurance companies in the US to report information on who owns entities that buy high-priced homes here -- as well as would hammer Russia with a host of additional sanctions and new ways of cracking down on Russian disinformation and cyber-crimes.
Targets of the sanctions would include: Russian banks that support efforts to interfere in foreign elections; the country’s cyber sector, new sovereign debt; and individuals deemed to “facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”
The bill also would impose several strict new measures on Russia’s oil and gas sector, which makes up about 40 percent of the Russian government’s revenues, including sanctioning people who provide goods, services or financing to support the development of crude oil in the country.
Russian state-owned energy projects outside of Russia including investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects also would face sanctions.
"Putin's actions cannot be tolerated, and the consequences of inaction are quickly compounding," Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said in a statement.
"That is why 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 US Congress will protect our institutions, allies and values even if the President chooses not to do so," he added.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina did not mention the President or the administration's policies on Russia in his own statement Wednesday but highlighted the ways the proposed legislation serves as a meaningful rebuke toward Moscow.
“Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia,” Graham said in a statement emailed to Reuters. “He should cease and desist meddling in the U.S. electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.”