U.S President Donald Trump has objections to the legislation, as he’d hoped to improve ties between the United States and Russia. However, his administration has been relentlessly plagued with the investigations of Russian collusion in the Trump presidential campaign.
Reuters reports that Trump’s concerns with the bill include a clause that allows Congress to block any measure attempting to ease existing sanctions on Russia. The bill generated strong support from Trump’s fellow Republicans in addition to Democrats.
According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration has said it is unsure whether the president will veto the bill.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that “We’re going to wait and see what that final legislation looks like, and make a decision at that point.”
With the Senate backing the measure by a margin of 98-2 after the House passed it by 419-3, the bill will now be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto.
This bill marks the first major foreign policy legislation to be approved by Congress under Trump. If the president chooses to veto it, however, the bill is still expected to garner enough support in both chambers to override his veto and pass into law.
The bill would affect a wide range of Russian industries and may further damage the Russian economy, which Reuters reports was already weakened by the sanctions imposed in 2014 after the annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea.
Senator John McCain spoke just before the Senate passed the bill and called for a firm line against Russia.
“The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy,” McCain said.
More to come.
—With files from Reuters