Senate to Strip Language Imposing Sanctions Against North Korea in Broader Russia Bill

Sen. Bob Corker: Measure will be enacted into law 'very, very soon.'

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker

Sen. Bob Corker / Getty Images

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The Senate will likely strip a measure imposing sanctions against North Korea from a broader piece of legislation that encompasses sanctions against Russia and Iran for varying aggressions, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said Wednesday.

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) said the adjustment would allow Congress to accelerate the time frame in which the bill is sent to the White House for a signature. Corker said his conversations with President Donald Trump over the past couple of days made clear he recognized the measure was likely to become law "very, very soon."

The House decisively passed a sanctions package against Russia, Iran, and North Korea on Tuesday evening, sending the bill to the Senate just days before the August recess. Only three House members voted against the measure.

Corker said senators on the foreign affairs and banking committees want to tweak the language imposing sanctions on North Korea to include congressional review procedures. The House and Senate negotiated the two portions enacting sanctions against Russia and Iran, but Corker said they never conferred on Pyongyang.

"It's going to be difficult within the time frame that we have to deal with that," Corker said at an event hosted by the Washington Post. "With the House leaving on Friday … if we were to do that it would likely go beyond the period of time they were here and I think most people would like to get this bill enacted and into law."

He said the Senate's decision to remove language regarding North Korea should not be considered an "affront," but rather an attempt to move the legislation to the president's desk by the end of the week.

The Senate is expected to amend the package Wednesday evening. The bill will then head to a conference committee between the House and Senate to smooth out any differences before it moves to the president's desk.

The legislation would significantly limit Trump's ability to relax or terminate sanctions, defying White House complaints that the measure impedes the president's executive authority to conduct foreign policy.

Lawmakers from both parties have been eager to reprimand Russia for its intrusion in the election despite attempts by the Trump administration to warm relations and relax sanctions against Moscow.

Corker said the president's failure to recognize Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election "helped drive" the measure.

Natalie Johnson

Natalie Johnson   Email Natalie | Full Bio | RSS
Natalie Johnson is a news writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she was a news reporter at the Daily Signal. Johnson’s work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, Fox News and Drudge Report. She graduated from James Madison University in 2015 with a B.A. in political science and journalism. She can be reached at johnson@freebeacon.com. Her twitter handle is @nataliejohnsonn.

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