On Thursday the Senate voted to impose new sanctions on Iran that will expand penalties for terrorism and Tehran’s continuing push for ballistic missiles. This legislation is a first for congressional Republicans, as it wasn’t initiated by the Trump administration.
The sanctions do not interfere with the nuclear deal with Iran, but will enlarge the U.S. net of sanctions, as it includes a new round of sanctions laws aimed at Russia, which the Senate attached to the Iran bill on Wednesday.
The U.S. Senate voted nearly unanimously for legislation to impose the new sanctions and to force President Donald Trump to get Congress' approval before easing any existing sanctions. Setting up a potential confrontation with President Trump, the Senators voted 98 - 2 to pass the whole package Thursday, and now it must pass in the House to become law. It must then be signed by Trump. House aides said they expected the chamber would begin to debate the measure in coming weeks.
New York Democrat, Charles E. Schumer, Senate Minority Leader. Said the bill’s easy passage should be a caution to reporters who seem to concentrate on areas of disagreement between the two parties, especially now, after this week’s attack on Republican congressmen at a baseball practice.
If passed in the House of Representatives and signed into law by Trump, it would put into law previously established sanctions, which may complicate relations with some countries in Europe.
The bill also includes new sanctions on Iran that are not related to the international nuclear agreement reached with the United States and other world powers.
The bill comes up for a final vote at the end of July, before lawmakers leave Washington for their summer recess. According to Reuters, senior aides said that they expect that some of the sanctions package will eventually pass, but they expect the measure to be changed in the House.
The Trump administration has pushed back against the bill, and his fellow Republicans hold 238 seats in the chamber, as opposed to the 193 seat minority of Democrats.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged Congress to ensure that any sanctions package "allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation."
The Senate also voted unanimously for an amendment that reaffirms U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance.