Three senior Democratic senators on Monday introduced a resolution pushing President Donald Trump to use the new authority over Russia sanctions that Congress overwhelmingly gave him last year.
The symbolic measure from Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Robert Menendez of New Jersey marks the latest Democratic effort to pressure the Trump administration on its delay in implementing a bipartisan Russia sanctions bill – designed in part as a response to Moscow's meddling in the 2016 election – that the president signed only reluctantly, according to POLITICO.
Read alsoPoland's Foreign Minister: Sanctions against Russia should remain in place – Polish mediaThe administration's decision last month to hold off on new penalties targeting the defense and intelligence sectors of President Vladimir Putin's government infuriated Democrats, who pointed out that the bipartisan bill Congress approved with only five opposing votes last year had designed the sanctions as mandatory.
"The lack of seriousness shown by the administration in the face of a clear national security threat and even clearer congressional intent is alarming and cannot continue," Cardin said in a statement on the resolution.
That legislation allowed Trump aides to hold off on new sanctions, however, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has since said his department is working on future sanctions stemming from a list of Russian oligarchs that was also required by the bill.
Each of the sanctions resolution's co-sponsors plays a central role in policymaking on the issue: Cardin helped shape last year's Russia bill as the Foreign Relations Committee's ranking Democrat, a post he recently ceded back to Menendez after the Justice Department ended its corruption case against the New Jersey senator. Brown is the senior Democrat on the Banking Committee, which also helped craft the sanctions legislation.