WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) issued the following statements after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee overwhelmingly voted to approve the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019. Adopted in a vote of 17-5, the comprehensive, bipartisan bill significantly increases the political, diplomatic, and economic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to its malign activities around the world.
The legislation, which now heads to the Senate floor for full consideration, is designed to bolster the United States’ ability to confront Russian aggression on several fronts—by strengthening our commitment to NATO, establishing an elite State Department cyber unit, and levying wide-ranging sanctions on Russian entities and individuals.
“This bill is the expression of the Senate’s views on how to protect U.S. national security against Russia,” said Senator Menendez. “By passing DASKA, the Senate Foreign Relations committee is saying we intend to hold Vladimir Putin accountable, and that we will be proactive in standing up for U.S. national security. This comprehensive legislation will ensure our diplomats have the tools to advance our interests and stand up to the bully in the Kremlin. It includes new sanctions as well as provisions designed to harden our democratic institutions and make us less vulnerable to another attack. I thank my colleagues for their commitment to getting this critical bill passed, and look forward to working together again to ensure the full Senate swiftly takes it up early next year.”
“Incredibly pleased with the overwhelming bipartisan support for my legislation with Senator Menendez sanctioning Putin’s government, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” said Senator Graham. “This strong vote indicates an overwhelming desire by the Senate as a whole to push back against Russian interference in our election and Putin’s misadventures throughout the world. I am committed to working with my colleagues to improve this legislation, but it must be strong to be meaningful. Our bill sanctions the Russian energy sector, goes after the illicit gains of Putin and his oligarch friends, and makes strong statements about the value of NATO to the United States. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to ensure that this legislation is taken up on the Senate floor and we continue to push back against Putin’s malign behavior. If this bill becomes law, it will be the strongest statement yet by Congress that we are tired of the discord that Putin is sowing throughout the world and the threat that he poses to the neighborhood in which he resides. I have very much enjoyed working with Senator Menendez and appreciate all those who have helped draft this legislation.”
“Congress continues to take the lead in defending U.S. national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad,” said Senator Cardin. “I’m pleased to work with my colleagues on a comprehensive, bipartisan effort to counter Russia’s pervasive attacks on our electoral systems and cyber infrastructure. I hope the full Senate will take it up quickly. We must be united in our effort to fully protect our country and our allies from a Kremlin that shows no sign of abiding by or respecting international norms.”
“Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the U.S.-led liberal global order,” said Senator Gardner. “From the invasion of Ukraine, carrying out chemical attacks on NATO soil, support for the heinous Assad regime, violations of arms control treaties, and meddling in U.S. elections, Russia’s actions necessitate the strongest possible response from the United States. This legislation imposes additional strong sanctions to deter Russia’s malign behavior, including my provision to require the State Department to determine whether Russia merits the designation as a state sponsor of terror. With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passage of this legislation, Congress is demonstrating firm bipartisan resolve against Kremlin’s mendacity and I hope it will move quickly to be signed into law.”
“This bipartisan legislation sends a clear message that Congress will not stay on the sidelines while Russia continues to interfere in our elections, threatens Ukraine’s sovereignty and sows discord in the transatlantic community,” said Senator Shaheen. “Our bill levies additional sanctions against Russia and reaffirms the Senate’s voice and role in support of NATO to ensure the United States stands with our allies against Russian aggression. I urge Leader McConnell to bring this bill to the floor immediately.”
Among its many provisions, DASKA creates a fusion center within the government to better address challenges posed by Russia. The bill also gives U.S. prosecutors the ability to shut down botnets and other cyber tools that are used to attack election infrastructure. And it increases transparency in the U.S. real estate market, making it more difficult for Russian oligarchs to buy high end property.
Sanctions in Response to Kremlin interference in democratic institutions abroad
Sanctions in Response to Kremlin aggression in Ukraine
Other key provisions of the legislation