On Jan. 10, 2017, a bipartisan group of five Republican and five Democratic senators announced their support for the Countering Russian Hostilities Act of 2017. Lindsey Graham, one of the senators who announced the proposed legislation, told The Wall Street Journal that he is confident the bill will get overwhelming support. One reporter agreed, stating the bill “has a good chance of being passed in the Senate.”
Title I of the Countering Russian Hostilities Act would codify the sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama in the April 1, 2015, Executive Order 13694, as amended on Dec. 28, 2016. Title II of the legislation would codify sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its annexation of Crimea, its occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, its invasion of Ukraine, and its actions in Syria.
Obama promulgated Executive Order 13694 in response to hacking by Chinese state-supported groups against U.S. government agencies and private businesses. The executive order directed the secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the attorney general and the secretary of state, to take actions against individuals and organizations that engaged in cyber-enabled activities originating from persons located outside the United States that were likely to result in or contribute to a threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health or financial stability of the United States. The authorized actions included barring such individuals from traveling to the United States and blocking the transfer of U.S.-based funds and other assets of such persons. Continue Reading