Lance Bill Will Force Sanctions on Russia
WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today teamed up with Reps. Denny Heck (WA-10), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Karen Bass (CA-37) to introduce legislation requiring the Trump Administration to enforce the congressionally-mandated sanctions against the Russian government for election meddling. The Directing Implementation of Sanctions and Accountability for Russian Mischief (DISARM) Act will punish the Russian government and eliminate any option the executive branch may exercise to ignore the will of Congress in seeing Russian officials held accountable. Lance, one of the first Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation punishing Russia for election interference, is now the first Republican lawmaker backing legislation to ensure sanctions against Russia are enforced.
“Sanctioning Russia is not optional. Russia has intolerably involved itself in our electoral process and the sanctions I championed need to be enforced. There is no moral equivalency between the government of the United States and the government of Russia. Our Nation has a treasured democratic government, while Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime tries to sow discontent. The United States must respond forcefully to Russian interference and this bipartisan legislation ensures that Russia faces severe consequences,” said Lance.
At issue is the Trump Administration’s enforcement of sanctions against Russia. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (also known as CAATSA), was signed into law by President Trump on August 2, 2017, having passed Congress with the support of Lance and an overwhelming bipartisan majority. The legislation targeted officials of the Russian government who took part in foreign interference during the 2016 U.S. elections. In order to prevent and stop the interference, CAATSA also asked for the executive branch to provide a detailed report from Treasury to determine individuals involved, prevent those individuals from coming to the U.S., and freeze the assets of influencers. After news reports of the Trump Administration not enforcing the sanctions, Lance wrote to Secretary of State Tillerson asking for action. The DISARM Act makes clear the executive branch must follow the will of Congress and punish the Russian government.
In a recent interview with NBC News, Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to deny any involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections, despite overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered and continues to interfere in democracies around the world, including elections in Austria, France, Catalonia, and Mexico. On February 13, 2018, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats presented the United States Intelligence Community’s 2018 assessment of threats to U.S. national security, which states, “Moscow seeks to create wedges that reduce trust and confidence in democratic processes, degrade democratization efforts, weaken U.S. partnerships with European allies, undermine Western sanctions, encourage anti-U.S. political views, and counter efforts to bring Ukraine and other former Soviet states into European institutions.”
“We believe the intent of Congress last August with these sanctions was clear and consistent,” Congressman Heck said. “Russia will continue to sabotage the democratic process if we don't do something. Therefore it's urgent for both parties to come together to show that we will not stand by and allow these antics to hurt the greatest country on Earth.”