Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released a statement following Senate passage of S. 722, an Act to Provide Congressional Review and to Counter Iranian and Russian Governments’ Aggression:
"The Senate came together today to pass S. 722, an Act to Provide Congressional Review and to Counter Iranian and Russian Governments’ Aggression, and send a strong, bipartisan signal to our Iranian and Russian adversaries – there are consequences for their aggression. As an original sponsor of this legislation, I believe it’s imperative that we hold the Iranian regime accountable for its destabilization of the region, its support for terrorist proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas, its development of ballistic missile technology in contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions, and its atrocious human rights record. The JCPOA with the P5+1 and Iran substantially constrained the Iranian regime’s nuclear program and was the best available option available at the time. When I made my decision on the JCPOA, I committed to advancing legislative efforts that prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, exporting terrorism in the region, and committing human rights atrocities at home. With today’s passage of S. 722, we took a strong step in the right direction on all three fronts.
"The bill that passed the Senate today also includes a robust package of sanctions and other measures to respond to Russian aggression. We know that Russia continues to occupy Crimea, back separatists in Ukraine, and support the murderous Assad regime in Syria. The intelligence community was unanimous in their assessment that Russia interfered in our 2016 elections with the intent of helping one candidate win, and they have used similar tactics to interfere in the democratic elections of many of our European allies and partners. They must be held accountable, and this legislation sends a clear message to Putin. It also sends a clear message to the President that Congress will not tolerate sanctions relief for Russia absent a major change in behavior. Although President Trump has called Putin “a strong leader,” we know he is an authoritarian former KGB officer who puts his political opponents in jail, or worse, and who stifles freedom of the press, freedom of worship, and freedom of expression – all fundamental American values.
"Lastly, but perhaps more importantly, this legislation sends a clear message to our allies and partners on the front lines of Russian aggression that we have their backs. I cosponsored a bipartisan amendment that reaffirmed our commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which says that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on us all. Article 5 has only been invoked once in NATO’s history – when the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001. We can, and should, ask our NATO allies to pull their weight and pay their fair share, but not under threat that we will abandon our alliances. The stakes are far too high.
"I urge my colleagues in the House to pass this important bill expeditiously and send it to the President’s desk."