House Republicans Block New Russia Sanctions
GOP Halts Action on Engel-Connolly SECURE Our Democracy Act
Republican House members today unanimously voted against new sanctions to punish Russia for its attack on American democracy. The GOP blocked action on the SECURE Our Democracy Act, legislation introduced by Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel and Representative Gerald E. Connolly, which would impose sanctions on anyone found to have interfered with an American election from overseas going back to 2015.
Shortly before the vote, Rep. Engel said on the House floor, “When the next vote is called, my friends on the other side of the aisle have a choice to make. Will they vote to say to Putin—to our chief adversary—that we won’t tolerate his attacks on our democracy? Or will they again cede Congress’s oversight role and continue to cover up for the President, who cozies up to Putin, who sides with him over our allies, who continues to deny what everyone else knows is a fact. Make no mistake: the next vote is our opportunity to punish the criminals who interfered in our election—to send a message that there will be consequences for anyone who does so in the future. After this vote, every member will be on the record, letting the world know where they stand.”
“President Trump’s performance at the Helsinki summit with Vladimir Putin underscores the need for this legislation,” said Rep. Connolly during the floor debate. “Time and again, the President refuses to acknowledge the unanimous conclusion of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies… that Russia was a threat and directly interfered with our 2016 election. Mr. Trump’s own Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, recently said ‘The warning lights are blinking red again. Today the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.’”
Rep. Connolly's floor remarks may be found here.
The SECURE Our Democracy Act
• Requires the Secretary of State to compile and regularly update a public list of foreign persons and entities who unlawfully interfered with a U.S. election after January 1, 2015 and any future election;
• Bars entry to the United States and freezes U.S.-based financial assets of those listed;
• Requires a public report;
• Includes congressional oversight provisions to allow an override vote if the President waives the imposition of sanctions.