US President Donald Trump and his administration support the imposition of tough new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, the White House has said a day after the House of Representatives voted in favour of the move. “The White House, the president, and the entire administration strongly support sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, told reporters yesterday. The House of Representatives on Tuesday passes legislations with an overwhelming majority of 419-3 supporting tougher sanctions against the three countries. The bill is aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the US presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. It also seeks to make Tehran pay a price for its “continued support of terrorism.” The bill now needs to be passed by the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for Trump to sign it into a law. Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, yesterday urged the Senate to pass the North Korea, Russia, Iran sanctions bill. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that the Senate needs to pass the bill at the earliest. “Yesterday the House of Representatives passed, nearly unanimously, a sanctions bill that was a product of bicameral, bipartisan negotiations and includes strong sanctions against Russia, Iran, North Korea. “The Senate must act quickly on the legislation from the House,” he said. Earlier, Senator and Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker indicated that he plans to strip out a section of this package that relates to North Korea, Schumer said.
“This is yet another delay generated by Republicans to prevent this bill from landing on the president’s desk before we leave for the recess,” he said. Mark Warner, vice chairman of the senate select committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate banking committee, said the strong bipartisan congressional support for increased sanctions on Russia sends a message to the Kremlin that attacks on US democracy will not be tolerated. “I expect this bill will pass the Senate in short order. At that point, it is incumbent upon President Trump to immediately sign this legislation into law, or risk endorsing Moscow’s interference in future elections,” he said. “We must also make clear to Iran and North Korea that they will be held accountable for their actions, including North Korea’s advancement of its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program, the detention and death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, and the continued imprisonment of American citizens,” Warner said.
Later, Corker announced a path forward on the legislation. “Following very productive discussions with Leader McCarthy, I am glad to announce that we have reached an agreement that will allow us to send sanctions legislation to the president’s desk,” he said. “The Senate will move to approve the Iran and Russia sanctions it originally passed six weeks ago, as well as the North Korea sanctions developed by the House,” he added. Going forward, the House has committed to expeditiously consider and pass enhancements to the North Korea language, which multiple members of the Senate hope to make in the very near future, Corker said.