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Congressman Denny Heck

Representing the 10th District of Washington

Bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives call for Trump Administration to act on Russian sanctions

Mar 8, 2018
Press Release
The Directing Implementation of Sanctions and Accountability for Russian Mischief (DISARM) Act holds Russia accountable for election meddling by enforcing the intent of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions law

WASHINGTON, D.C.  –  Today U.S. Representatives Denny Heck (WA-10), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), and Karen Bass (CA-37) introduced a bill requiring the executive branch to enforce the existing Russian sanctions in order to halt any further Russian election meddling before the 2018 midterm elections.

In a recent interview with NBC News, Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to deny any involvement in the 2016 U.S. elections, despite overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered and continues to interfere in democracies around the world, including elections in Austria, France, Catalonia, and Mexico. On February 13, 2018, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats presented the United States Intelligence Community’s 2018 assessment of threats to U.S. national security, which states, “Moscow seeks to create wedges that reduce trust and confidence in democratic processes, degrade democratization efforts, weaken U.S. partnerships with European allies, undermine Western sanctions, encourage anti-U.S. political views, and counter efforts to bring Ukraine and other former Soviet states into European institutions.”

"We believe the intent of Congress last August with these sanctions was clear and consistent," Rep. Heck said.  "Russia will continue to sabotage the democratic process if we don't do something. Therefore it's urgent for both parties to come together to show that we will not stand by and allow these antics to hurt the greatest country on Earth."

“Sanctioning Russia is not optional. Russia has intolerably involved itself in our electoral process and the sanctions I championed need to be enforced. There is no moral equivalency between the government of the United States and the government of Russia.  Our Nation has a treasured democratic government, while Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian regime tries to sow discontent. The United States must respond forcefully to Russian interference and this bipartisan legislation ensures that Russia faces severe consequences,” said Rep. Lance, who was one of the first Republican lawmakers to call for sanctions against Russia after election interference.

“Facts aren’t partisan,” Rep. Bass said. “After meddling in our 2016 elections, Russia has continued their disinformation campaigns. In response to this reality, Congress has already sent a very clear message in a unified voice expressing the need for sanctions on Russia. As a result of the President’s refusal to do so, it is my hope that my colleagues join us in enforcing our intent. The Commander in Chief's number one priority is to protect the country. With mere months before our next election, I hope that Congress passes this important bill to make sure that this priority is honored.”

The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (also known as CAATSA), was signed into law by President Trump on August 2, 2017. The legislation targeted officials and oligarchs of the Russian Federation who took part in foreign interference during the 2016 U.S. elections. In order to prevent and stop the interference, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed CAATSA, which asked for the executive branch to provide a detailed report from Treasury to determine individuals involved, prevent those individuals from coming to the U.S., and freeze the assets of influencers.

The DISARM Act moves the sanctions forward by requiring specific details in the next version of the Treasury report and eliminates unclear provisions in order to better facilitate asset blocking and travel exclusions of key individuals.

On June 21, 2017, Rep. Heck questioned former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about whether he thought Russia would interfere in future elections during an open hearing in the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.