What is it?
(Update 8/2/17): President Donald Trump signed this bill into law. This bill — known as the Countering Adversarial Nations Through Sanctions — would impose additional sanctions on Iran, Russia, and North Korea for undermining global stability through tests of ballistic missiles, support for terrorism, and interventions in neighboring countries among other transgressions.
The bill would mandate sanctions on people who engage in or pose a risk of contributing to Iran’s ballistic missile program and those who support such persons. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) would be sanctioned for supporting terrorism (it’s already sanctioned for non-proliferation and human rights abuses), and people who violate the UN arms embargo against Iran. Sanctions could only be lifted on persons who supported Iran’s terrorism or ballistic missile program if they have ceased support for those activities for three months.
It would also require the Depts. of State, Defense, and Treasury to work with the Director of National Intelligence to submit a strategy every two years aimed at deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities that threaten the U.S. and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.
Reports would be required on U.S. citizens detained by Iran and discrepancies between U.S. and European Union sanctions on Iran. The president would be authorized to waive sanctions against individuals on a case-by-case basis for up to 180 days if it’s determined to be in the national security interests of the U.S.
This bill would make into law and strengthen existing sanctions contained in executive orders on Russia, including the sanctions’ impact on Russian energy projects and on debt financing in several key economic sectors. It would also provide for a mandated congressional review if sanctions are relaxed, suspended, or terminated.
New sanctions would be imposed on Russians involved in corruption; evading sanctions; abusing human rights; supplying weapons to the Assad regime; conducting malicious cyber activity on the Russian government’s behalf; the corrupt privatization state-owned assets; and those doing business with the Russian intelligence and defense sectors.
Additionally, new sanctions would be imposed on several sectors of Russia’s economy including mining, metals, shipping, and railways. An exception would be made for activities involving the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), which currently relies on certain Russian-made equipment.
The bill would also provide assistance to strengthen democratic institutions and look to counter disinformation across Central and Eastern European countries that are vulnerable to Russian aggression and interference. It would also reaffirm the importance of NATO in contributing to maintaining stability around the world.
A study on the flow of illegal finance involving Russia and a formal assessment of U.S. exposure to Russian state-owned entities would be required.
This bill would strengthen sanctions against the North Korean regime for its nuclear weapons program and human rights violations. It sanctions individuals who are involved in the use of North Korean forced labor, who buy metals from or provide military fuel to the regime, and prohibits accounts that can be used to gain access to U.S. currency. Goods produced in whole or in part by North Korean forced labor would be prohibited from entering the U.S. Aid to foreign governments that buy or sell North Korean weapons would be cut off.
The executive branch would be required to determine within 90 days whether North Korea should be re-designated as a state sponsor of terror. It’d also require a report on cooperation between North Korea and Iran on the two countries’ nuclear weapons programs, and a report on the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea by other countries.
Individuals sanctioned for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program, terrorism, arms embargo violations, or human rights abuses; the Depts. of State, Defense, and Treasury plus the Director of National Intelligence; and the President. North Korea and the nations or individuals who are connected to its nuclear weapons program or its use of forced labor; and the federal government.
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $12 million over the 2017-2027 period while bringing in $26 million in revenue from fines, reducing deficits by $14 million net over that period.
In-Depth: House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued the following statement on the introductions of this bipartisan, bicameral sanctions package:
“North Korea, Iran, and Russia have in different ways all threatened their neighbors and actively sought to undermine American interests. Earlier this year the House passed sanctions on North Korea by a vote of 419-1. Several weeks ago, the Senate passed sanctions legislation on Iran and Russia. Following that vote, the House worked diligently with our colleagues in the Senate to strengthen the bill with the inclusion of the House-passed sanctions that target the Kim regime’s ballistic missile program, which could soon put American cities within range of a nuclear attack. We also addressed original provisions that would have punished American job creators while benefiting a growing Russian energy oligarchy. Additionally, we help bolster the energy security of our European allies by maintaining their access to key energy resources outside of Russia. The bill the House will vote on next week will now exclusively focus on these nations and hold them accountable for their dangerous actions.”
The House passed a bill expanding sanctions on North Korea on a 419-1 vote on May 4, 2017 while the Senate passed its bill broadening sanctions on Iran and Russia on a 98-2 vote on June 15, 2017. The Senate’s bill in its original form was unable to be considered by the House because of a blue slip violation, meaning that it contained provisions related to taxes and spending that are supposed to originate in the House under the Constitution.
That snag led to the emergence of this comprehensive sanctions package, which has the support of three House cosponsors, including McCarthy, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and the Foreign Affairs Committee’s top Democrat, Eliot Engel (NY).
Summary by Eric Revell