New Sanctions Law: Congress Seeks to Limit President Trump’s Ability to Modify U.S. Policy Toward Russia

On August 2nd, President Trump signed into law the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (H.R. 3364), which gives the President the power to solely waive or terminate sanctions against Russia if Congress reviews and approves of the action. President Trump argues that that bill is “seriously flawed” because it encroaches on his authority to conduct foreign affairs.

Due to the continuing controversy over Russia policy and pending investigations of the 2016 election, this Act has generated a lot of press attention. The bill also authorizes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

Here are three key takeaways from H.R. 3364:

  1. Official U.S. sanctions policy toward Russia is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.
  2. Congress has endorsed President Trump’s harsher view of Iran compared to the Obama Administration.
  3. Congress and the Trump Administration agree on strengthening the existing sanctions regime on North Korea and the need to keep pressure on China.

With this bill authorizing new sanctions on Iran and North Korea, conducting business for exporters may be more difficult, especially when it comes to China. By endorsing President Trump’s view of Iran, the Act may also place burdens on exporters already doing business. Only time will tell exactly how much of an effect this bill will have.