Washington congressman proposes bill to counter 'Russian aggression'
Washington Rep. Adam Smith (D) has unveiled a bill aimed at deterring Russian aggression against the U.S. and its allies.
The bill would pressure the Trump administration to create a comprehensive policy on Russia and increase sanctions.
On top of an overall strategy on Russia, the bill calls for a report on maintaining and increasing the presence of U.S. military forces and personnel in Europe. The legislation would also require the Secretary of Defense to develop a plan to counter the military capabilities of Russia and to train U.S. allies to counter cyberspace and information operations mounted by Russia.
Smith, the ranking Democrat of the House Armed Services Committee, said Russia's threat to the U.S. is almost on par with the threat posed by terrorist groups like ISIS.
"And there's actually a common thread in the threat that I don't think a lot of people recognize. And that is basically ideologies that are totalitarian and dictatorial in nature. It's sort of a pushback against representative government and greater freedom,” Smith said.
The bill lists multiple examples of what it deems to be Russian aggression, including interference in the 2016 presidential election and violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987.
The legislation would require sanctions to be imposed until Russia comes into compliance with the treaty.
“It is time for us to recognize that this challenge must become one of the central concerns of U.S. national security strategy, and that if we do not stand up to this menace, we stand to lose much of what we have sacrificed to build and preserve during the life of our country. This threat merits a comprehensive response that will deter Russian aggression, strengthen allied and partner defenses, and boost our cohesion while including measures to reduce the risk of nuclear war and avoiding a reckless plunge into a new nuclear arms race,” Smith said in a statement.
The statement continued: “President Trump has only exacerbated this problem, belittling our allies and partners, embracing dictatorships, and calling into question our collective security commitments. In this situation, Congress has a responsibility to do its utmost to push back against these dark trends.”
Smith said he hopes to introduce the bill by next week. He said he believes many Republicans would support the bill, but not President Trump.
This comes amid an ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Trump associates.