Sen. Marco Rubio joined nine lawmakers Tuesday in introducing a bill that would impose tougher sanctions on Russia, in the process saying President Vladimir Putin was not a friend to America and is a leader who "understands strength, not weakness in the form of unilateral concessions."
"These two facts are important to remember as a new president takes office," said Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida. "I will continue working with our bipartisan coalition to pressure Putin and his corrupt regime until Russia changes its behavior."
The proposed bill, titled "The Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017," calls for sanctions across the board in response to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign and findings by U.S. intelligence committees Putin purposely tried to sway the election in Donald Trump's favor.
Other lawmakers sponsoring the bill were: Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Ben Sasse, R-Neb.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; and Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
The legislation would codify the sanctions already imposed by President Barack Obama: impose mandatory visa bans and asset freezes on the Russians involved in the hacking, mandate sanctions on transactions with the Russian defense and intelligence sectors.
However, it also delves deeper in calling for harsh disciplinary actions which target Russia's energy and natural gas sectors in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria.
"Russia has worked to insidiously interfere with and influence the Presidential election in the United States, and Russian military aggression in Ukraine and Syria has violated international commitments and shown a clear disregard for sovereignty and humanitarian norms," Cardin said.
"Our comprehensive sanctions package being introduced today will send a clear message to Vladimir Putin that he has gone too far, and that there will be consequences for his actions."
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