WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today held a committee business meeting to markup S.482, the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019 (DASKAA).
“I commend my colleagues’ good faith efforts to hold Russia accountable and I agree with them that we must continue to find ways to do this, but this piece of legislation, as drafted, is rife with unintended consequences,” said Risch. “The list of Putin’s offenses is very long. All of us are deeply concerned about what Russia has done in Crimea, what it is doing in eastern Ukraine, and its continued interference in our hemisphere as it actively supports despots like Maduro. The Russian Federation has interfered overtly and covertly in the democratic elections of the United States and other nations. It has poisoned and murdered its enemies on foreign soil. These are things we cannot stand by and watch. We need to do more, I agree. However, the sanctions included in DASKAA are overly broad, indiscriminate, and lack the flexibility necessary to actually change Russia’s behavior. Sanctions must be carefully crafted or they create consequences that can unintentionally harm our European partners and allies, and divide the solidarity needed to push back on Russia.
“I have spent the last year ushering a number of other Russia-related provisions through the committee, including Nord Stream 2 pipeline sanctions which were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, the Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act, and the European Energy Security and Diversification Act, all of which aim to counter Russia’s malign influence and to protect the integrity of Europe’s energy sector. I also supported the administration’s decision to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in order to hold Russia accountable for what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization determined to be a material breach of the agreement. I will continue to call out Putin for his growing arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons and his reckless pursuit of so-called exotic strategic nuclear weapons that violate provisions of the New START treaty. It is my hope that the committee will be able to continue to work together on finding ways to push back against Russia’s malign actions with a united voice.”
DASKAA passed the committee with amendments by a vote of 17-5. Text of this legislation and its amendments can be found here.