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Senate sends new Russia sanctions bill to Trump’s desk

The US Senate has approved further sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, and now the bipartisan bill goes to President Donald Trump’s desk, where it may be vetoed or signed into law. The vote was 86 to 2 at last count.

The sanctions target Russian gas and pipeline developments by codifying six of former President Barack Obama’s executive orders implementing sanctions on Russia.

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Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), ranking member of the foreign relations committee, opened floor discussion Thursday evening.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), then yielded to Senator John McCain (R), who lauded the bipartisan process that supported the bill.

“We will not tolerate attacks on our democracy!” McCain, who chairs the armed services committee, insisted from the Senate floor. “That’s what this bill is all about.”

All three countries were accused of violating “the international order” by Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), a former chairman of the foreign relations committee.

Opposition to the bill was bipartisan as well, but scarce, with only Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) voting no.

Leadership in the House and Senate agreed on the details of the sanctions bill late Wednesday, following the near unanimous vote in the House on Tuesday, 419 to 3. Senate passage sends the sanctions bill directly to Trump’s desk, and lawmakers expressed mixed expectations on whether the president would sign it into law.

READ MORE: ‘Counter-sanctions possible, trade war between EU & US would be very bad’ – German economy minister

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