With only two dissenting voters, Sens. Rand Paul (R – KY) and Mike Lee (R – UT), the Senate today passed the Crapo Amendment, which imposes a series of new sanctions on Russia over what it claims is “aggressive behavior.” The legislation also prevents the president from removing any sanctions from Russia without prior Congressional authorization.
The amendment was tacked on to the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, the latest in a long series of anti-Iran legislation which always passes with little opposition. The Russia amendment was broadly supported as well, with the vote 97-2 in favor, and only one abstention.
The main focus of the Russia sanctions will be its mining industry and metal production, with some sanctions also targeting foreign investors in the Russian energy market. Russia is among the world’s largest energy producers and exporters, providing large portions of the natural gas for Europe.
Debate on the amendment included not only the usual scaremongering about the threat of Russia, but also consistent attacks on President Trump for having willingly met with top Russian officials since taking office, with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D – OH) saying that allowing Russian state media at such meetings amounted to “hiding from the American people.”