WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Thursday following a Committee business meeting where Russia sanctions legislation was discussed:
“I welcome Chairman Corker’s commitment that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will mark up a sanctions bill on Russia after the Senate returns from the Memorial Day recess in June, pending a discussion with Secretary Tillerson on his efforts to make progress with Russia on the crisis in Syria. However, I share the Chairman’s views that Russia is very unlikely to change its behavior or calculation between now and then. I therefore expect that when the Senate returns the week of June 5th, Secretary Tillerson will come up to brief us. If his schedule does not permit, I would note that the Secretary will be in front of the Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the budget shortly after the next work period begins.
“Following the discussion with the Secretary, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should move expeditiously to advance a sanctions bill and I appreciate Senator Corker’s commitment to take Committee action in time for the bill to move to the Senate floor before the July 4th recess, where it is sure to pass with wide-ranging support.
“I have strongly advocated for a clear and robust response to Russia’s growing aggression against the United States. In January, I introduced the Counteracting Russian Hostilities Act of 2017, which includes the strongest sanctions ever proposed on Russia. Twenty bipartisan Senators have signed onto this effort. Every day of inaction on our part is one where Russia continues to gain ground. I welcome Chairman Corker’s statements and look forward to working with the whole committee to develop an equally strong measure in June that finally addresses this ongoing, growing threat to our national security.”