Rubio Urges More Russia Sanctions: ‘The Time To Come Together And Act Is Now’

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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A bipartisan duo of senators is requesting that their Russia sanctions bill make its way out of committee and get a vote before the end of August.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland are urging the top ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations and Banking committees to hold hearings, mark up and send their Russia sanctions bill to the floor for a vote by next month.

The bill, known as the “DETER Act,” was introduced in January and would impose new penalties on Russia within 10 days of the director of national intelligence ruling that more Russian meddling in U.S. elections has occurred.

“Russia’s ongoing elections interference against our great nation poses direct threats to our democracy, our democratic institutions, and our society, including the real risk that future Russian malign activities may undermine the legitimacy and integrity of future American elections,” the senators wrote in a July 19 letter to Senate Foreign Relations and Banking committee leadership.

“The Senate has the opportunity to highlight to the American public the real threats that foreign interference in our future elections pose, and to act to deter future foreign interference and defend our country,” the senators wrote, adding that the November midterm elections are just “110 days away” and “the time to come together and act is now.”

Rubio and Van Hollen picked up eight co-sponsors Thursday, with an even split among Democrats and Republicans. The new, larger coalition is likely due in no small part to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comment Tuesday that he had asked leadership on both committees to hold hearings on the Russia sanctions bill and recommend ways lawmakers could move forward in their efforts to stop Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

The pair want both committees to hold hearings on their bill before senators leave home for a week-long August recess on Aug. 6. Additionally, Rubio and Van Hollen are requesting that the Banking committee vote on their bill before that deadline. (RELATED: Republicans Are Outraged Over Russia Presser)

There is a resurgence in both parties on Capitol Hill to address the Russia problem before the midterms, after President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Monday. (RELATED: Trump Talks Putin Election Meddling)

The president refused to acknowledge that Russian agents attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, causing many within his own party to throw criticism his way. Trump was expected to take a hard line against Putin and address election interference and other topics, like the Russian annexation of Crimea, during the press conference.

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