The Senate voted overwhelmingly last week to impose tough sanctions against Russia for meddling in the U.S. election, and Saturday Vladimir Putin responded.
The Russian president was not pleased.
“It will, of course, complicate the Russian-American relationship,” the Russian president said in an interview. “I think it is harmful.”
The bill passed the Senate 98-2 on Thursday. It is meant primarily to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election. It would require congressional approval of any changes to current sanctions and would allow for additional restrictions on Russian shipping and mining companies.
The bill now moves on to the House, and it must eventually be signed into law by President Trump.
The measure is also in response to Russia’s seizing of Crimea and backing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. It includes language that would prevent President Trump from lifting the sanctions without congressional approval.
“Democrats and Republicans are joining together to warn the president he cannot lift sanctions without our approval,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
If it passes the House, Trump can either veto the bill, even though a Senate override seems likely, or sign it into law. He has not publicly backed sanctions against Putin’s regime.
“It is time to respond to Russia’s attack on American democracy with strength, with resolve, with common purpose and with action,” said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, according to the Washington Examiner.