Lawmakers Target Russia and Turkey in Annual Defense Policy Bill

Lawmakers took aim at Russia in the annual defense policy bill, with provisions that include sanctions on Turkey for purchasing a Russian-made missile system and on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

The legislation, which was agreed to by armed services committee members of both parties in both chambers, could get floor votes in the House and Senate as soon as next week.

It’s expected to pass despite veto threats from President Donald Trump who’s demanding that it include a provision abolishing a law that protects technology companies from liability over most user-generated content. Trump also opposes a provision in the measure to rename military bases that honor Confederate generals.

The National Defense Authorization Act “establishes mandatory sanctions on Turkey for its acquisition of the S-400 air missile defense system,” according toa summary of the bill released Thursday. It also “expands sanctions related to the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline.”

The State Department has said it’s weighing sanctions against Turkey under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, but lawmakers have been growing frustrated with the delay and are using the defense bill to push for action on sanctions.

House and Senate negotiators also agreed to target insurers and technical certification companies working on Nord Stream 2. The move adds to penalties that stopped work on the natural gas link under the Baltic Sea just a few weeks before the project was to be completed in December 2019.

The measure also seeks to prevent the U.S. from reducing the number of troops stationed in Germany below 34,500 until well into 2021, in a measure that appears intended to prevent Trump from withdrawing forces there as planned before leaving office next month.

— With assistance by Roxana Tiron

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