WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced today that his priorities to hold Russia accountable have been signed into law by President Trump as part of the Russia, Iran, and North Korea sanctions legislation. The legislation passed overwhelming in the Senate last week:

“Today, the United States made important progress toward holding Russia, Iran, and North Korea accountable for their aggressive and destabilizing behavior. I’m pleased President Trump signed this legislation, which includes my priorities to counter Russian propaganda and disinformation, into law. These countries actively undermine U.S. allies and interests and this legislation sends a clear signal that their actions have consequences and that the United States stands with our allies around the world. The important sanctions and policies included in this law will also provide constructive guidance to the administration as it continues to formulate its foreign policy. The United States must demonstrate a firm and principled approach to Russia, Iran, and North Korea, and this law helps us do just that.”

NOTE: The policy portion of the Russia sanctions component is based on the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act, sponsored by Senators Portman, Cardin and Coons, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a vote of 20-1. The bill also includes a Portman initiative to counter Russian influence and disinformation, which passed by a bipartisan vote of 18-3.

The Russia legislation would:

  • Mandate congressional review if sanctions are relaxed, suspended or terminated,
  • Codify and strengthen existing sanctions contained in executive orders on Russia, including the sanctions that impact certain Russian energy projects and on debt financing in key economic sectors,
  • Impose new sanctions on: corrupt Russian actors; those seeking to evade sanctions; those involved in serious human rights abuses; those supplying weapons to the Assad regime; those conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government; those involved in corrupt privatization of state-owned assets; and those doing business with the Russian intelligence and defense sectors,
  • Authorize broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia’s economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.
  • Strengthen U.S. efforts to counter Russian disinformation and propaganda across Central and Eastern Europe through the Countering Russian Influence Fund, implemented in coordination with the Global Engagement Center (GEC). The FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act established the GEC to counter foreign government disinformation based on bipartisan legislation authored by Senators Portman and Murphy.  
  • Require a study on the flow of illicit finance involving Russia and a formal assessment of U.S. economic exposure to Russian state-owned entities. 

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