Bennet Pushes to Establish Congressional Oversight of Russia Sanctions Relief

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet this week joined a bipartisan group of Senators in cosponsoring the Russia Sanctions Review Act of 2017, which establishes congressional oversight of any decision to provide sanctions relief to the Government of the Russian Federation.

"Russian interference in our election is a danger to our national security, and Russia's destabilizing activities in eastern Europe threaten our interests and partners in the region," Bennet said. "Given the continuing revelations about the Trump administration's connections to Russia, Congress must have a say on any sanctions relief in order to ensure we maintain U.S. credibility and leadership on these critical issues."

Senators cosponsoring the bill include Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

Before sanctions relief can be granted, the Russia Sanctions Review Act requires the Administration to submit to Congress:

  • A description of the proposed sanctions relief for individuals engaged in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities, those contributing to the situation in Ukraine, and those engaged in certain transactions with respect to Crimea.
  • Certification that the Government of the Russian Federation has ceased the following:
    • Ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, supporting, or financing, significant acts intended to undermine the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine, including through an agreement between the appropriate parties; and
    • Cyberattacks against the United States Government and United States persons.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives will have 120 days to act -- or decline to take action -- on any proposed sanctions relief. During this period, the President may not waive, suspend, reduce, provide relief from, or otherwise limit the application of sanctions with respect to the Russian Federation. After 120 days, if both the Senate and House have not voted in support of a Joint Resolution of Disapproval, sanctions relief will be granted.