Bipartisan House Members Introduce Russia Sanctions Review Act

Washington, DC – Today, a bipartisan group of Representatives introduced H.R. 1059, the Russia Sanctions Review Act. This legislation would require Congressional approval of any sanctions relief provided to Russia. Sponsored by Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA), Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH), Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), Intelligence Subcommittee on the NSA and Cybersecurity Chairman Tom Rooney (R-FL), Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), this legislation is a companion to an identical bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The Russia Sanctions Review Act takes as its premise that Russia must earn any relief it receives from sanctions, which were imposed both for its aggression in Ukraine and occupation of Crimea as well as for its hacking activities aimed at interfering in the 2016 U.S. election.  Similar to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, it will provide a clear check against any sanctions relief that has not been merited.

Click here for a summary of the bill.

“Each day, we learn more about secret dealings that President Trump’s confidants have had with the Russian government,” said Ranking Member Smith. “We don’t yet know the full extent of these interactions, but it would raise serious questions if the administration attempted to ease the sanctions on Russia right now. We imposed these sanctions for several reasons: To serve as a check on Russian aggression in Ukraine and the broader European region, and to dissuade Russia from its campaign to influence elections and discredit democratic values worldwide. Russian behavior remains a serious concern. Sanctions should not be relaxed at this time. Doing so would look like a reward to Putin for his meddling. Congress has a role to play, and it must exert its authority to ensure that appropriate measures are in force.”

“Russia cannot be allowed to get away scot-free after illegally annexing Crimea, supporting an armed uprising in Ukraine, and interfering in last year’s election here in the United States,” Whip Hoyer said. “The Putin regime has shown no indication of changing its behavior. Congress must send a powerful message to the Russians that they cannot meddle in the internal affairs of our country and be rewarded for it.”

“This bipartisan legislation will work to keep our country’s foreign policy in check as we continue to face evolving threats at home and abroad,” Rep. Turner said. “Russia’s past actions must be taken seriously as the new administration forms their foreign policy plan.”

“Sanctions placed on Russia by President Obama for destabilizing Eastern Ukraine and interfering in our elections should only be lifted in response to a clear change in Russian behavior,” Ranking Member Schiff said. “Though Russia’s malignant actions in Ukraine and meddling in French elections have only intensified, President Trump has nonetheless suggested he may pursue a policy of appeasement towards Russia and lift some or all of these sanctions regimes. While the President’s motives are inexplicable, Congress can prevent this catastrophic course of action by passing the bipartisan Russia Sanctions Review Act which will ensure that the Trump Administration cannot act unilaterally.”

“Vladimir Putin is not an ally of America and this bipartisan bill stresses to Putin that until Russia changes its behavior, Congress will not support alleviating or lifting any sanctions on his corrupt regime,” said Rep. Rooney.

“Make no mistake: Putin is testing this new Administration,” Ranking Member Engel said. “That’s why he’s deploying missiles in defiance of a decades-old treaty, a Russian spy ship is floating off the east coast, and we’re dealing with Kremlin hacking our democracy. All the while, Russia continues its illegal occupation of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, with violence again on the rise. The last thing the United States should do is lift sanctions, and Congress should do whatever’s necessary to ensure that doesn’t happen. This bill would allow us to play a stronger role in holding Putin accountable. So long as his aggressive behavior continues, Russia should see no relief from American sanctions.”

“On too many occasions, Russia, under the helm of Vladimir Putin, has been a menace to our national security interests at home and abroad,” said Rep. Kinzinger.  “Rewarding Putin with sanctions relief will do nothing to leverage Russia from stopping its destabilizing activities in Eastern Europe, Syria and the wider Middle East. It is critical for Congress to have oversight of any action that rewards Russia without proper adherence to the Minsk Accords.”