World Bulletin / News Desk
If passed, the bill will impose sweeping economic penalties on Russian political figures, oligarchs and family members close to President Vladimir Putin and would force the State Department to determine if Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism.
"For nearly two years, our nation’s top intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that the Kremlin is continuing its efforts to target our elections and sow chaos among our citizens,” Senator John McCain said in a statement announcing the legislation.
“Until Putin pays a serious price for his actions, these attacks on our democracy will only grow," he added.
McCain was one of six senators co-sponsoring the bill. He was joined by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham, Bob Menendez, Cory Gardner and Ben Cardin and Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.
Graham said current penalties on Russia have proven insufficient to thwart it from its alleged meddling in this November's midterm elections.
"Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the U.S. electoral process, halts cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria," Graham said.
The legislation would also establish an Office of Cyberspace and the Digital Economy within the State Department and a National Fusion Center to Respond to Hybrid Threats.
The center would be tasked with preparing and responding to "Russian disinformation and other emerging threats emanating from the Russian Federation".