As reported by Censor.NET citing The Hill, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said current U.S. sanctions against Russia haven't stopped Moscow from trying to meddle in the November midterm elections, despite Congress passing new legislation last year.
"Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against [President Vladimir] Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyber-attacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria," he said in a statement.
Senator Robert Menendez that the bill is "the next step in tightening the screws on the Kremlin."
Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) are also supporting the legislation.
It comes as lawmakers are growingly increasingly concerned that Russia will try to interfere in the 2018 elections, where control of Congress hangs in the balance.
The new financial penalties would target political figures, oligarchs, family members and others that "facilitate illicit and corrupt activities" on behalf of Putin.
It would also impose new sanctions on transactions tied to investments in state-owned energy projects, transactions tied to new Russian debt, and people with the capacity or ability to support or carry out a "malicious" cyber act.
The legislation would also create a State Department office of cyberspace and the digital economy, create a national fusion center to respond to hybrid threats and reauthorize the countering Russia influence fund.
It would also fold in legislation that allows the Justice Department to pursue charges for those caught hacking a voting system that is used in a federal election and require a report on the net worth and assets of Putin.