Most Republican senators are reluctant to support bipartisan legislation being introduced on Tuesday, which proposes new sanctions on Russia over its alleged hacking of Democrats during the election and other aggressive behavior worldwide, The Washington Post reports.
The refusal of most GOP senators to commit to the measure is in apparent deference to President-elect Donald Trump, who has suggested that the Obama administration's focus on the Russian hacking is driven by the Democrats' loss in the election and not national security.
Trump's top aide, Kellyanne Conway, suggested that the president-elect "will want to make sure that our actions are proportionate to what occurred," The Hill reported.
The proposed mandatory sanctions would punish anyone supporting cyber breaches of infrastructure or conducting deals with Russian defense and intelligence operations or making investments in Russian energy projects.
GOP Sens. Marco Rubio, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and Rob Portman back the legislation, but other Republicans do not want to complicate Trump's desire for friendlier relations with Moscow.
Politico reports that the bill is meant to send a message that key Republicans want to punish Moscow for its behavior, despite Trump's attempt to downplay Russia's interference in the presidential election.
But Senate Foreign Relations Committee member James Risch commented to The Washington Post about the proposal that "We're in a state of flux right now, and that's not a good time to be acting on something as serious as that" and Sen. David Perdue said "I'd like to hear the [new] president's input on that."
Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee chairman Ron Johnson, who is also on the Foreign Relations Committee, expressed "concerns about sanctions strengthening Putin's hand, because he uses that [to] solidify his domestic support."
CNBC points out that the bill is being introduced a day before the Foreign Relations Committee begins its confirmation hearing for secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, which has raised concern about the decades the former Exxon Mobil chief executive spent working together with the Kremlin and his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.