WASHINGTON( Reuters) – U.S. senators reached an agreement on Monday on legislation enforcing new sanctions on Russia, including a provision that would prevent the White House from easing, suspending or aiming sanctions without congressional approval.
The agreement, to be filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill, is intended to punish Russia over issues including its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and is supportive of the government of Syria in that country’s six-year-long civil war.
The Iran bill is due come up for a referendum as soon as this week.
Besides the provision setting up a process for Congress to review changes in sanctions, the measure would put into statute sanctions previously established via presidential executive order, including some on certain Russian energy projects and indebtednes financing in some industries.
It would impose new sanctions on Russians found to be guilty of human rights abuses, supplying weapons to Syria’s government and conduct cyber attacks on behalf of Russia’s government , among others.
The measure also would allow new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways.
The legislation is backed by both Republican and Democrats, and is expected to easily pass the Senate.
It was introduced amid an intense focus in the U.S. capital on the relationship with Russia, and investigations by the Department of Justice and congressional committees of whether Russia sought to influence the 2016 U.S. elections to help elect Republican President Donald Trump, and whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow as it sought to influence the election.