“This bill is the latest example of a more assertive congressional role in foreign policy prompted by concerns about some of the policy inclinations of President Trump,” said John Herbst, Eurasia center director at the Atlantic Council. “At a minimum, it seeks to limit the president’s ability to make undue concessions to the Kremlin or to weaken our NATO alliance.”
With Congress currently in summer recess, the bill won’t be voted on in both houses for a few weeks, and it’s unclear whether the White House will support it. But as the bill’s language reveals, the bipartisan appetite for an aggressive response to Russia is real.
The question now is which sanctions actions are likely to make it into law, and how extreme they will be, said Timothy Ash, senior emerging markets sovereign strategist at Bluebay Asset Management. He referenced Congress’s April 6 sanctions, which took Russian markets by storm after hitting a number of targets in Putin’s inner circle.
“We have to expect the unexpected, assume that no Russian entity [or] oligarch is necessarily untouchable,” he said, “but that actions can be extreme and market-moving in Russia and beyond.”