Congress Wants to Issue a Fresh Round of Sanctions on North Korea

Bill enjoys broad support from Democrats and Republicans

by Caitlin Martin


Greetings, fellow Resistbotters! One issue being considered by Congress this week is H.R. 1644 — Korea Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act sponsored by Ed Royce (R-CA), co-sponsored by Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Brad Sherman (D-CA).

H.R. 1644 would impose additional sanctions on North Korea and any nations or individuals connected to its nuclear weapons program and/or its use of forced labor.

What does it do?

  • Sanctions individuals who use North Korean forced labor or who buy metals from North Korea.
  • Prohibits accounts that can be used to access U.S. currency.
  • Prohibits goods produced using North Korean forced labor from entering the U.S.
  • U.S. aid to any foreign governments that buy or sell North Korean weapons would be cut off.
  • The executive branch must decide within 90 days whether North Korea should be re-designated as a state sponsor of terror.
  • A report is required to assess cooperation between North Korea and Iran on their nuclear weapons programs.
  • A report on the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions sanctioning North Korea by other countries is also required.

How’s it being received?

  • This bill enjoys broad support from both sides of the aisle.
  • Similar bills have been signed in past, most recently in February of 2016. However, past bills have not required a re-evaluation of the status of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism — this status was changed by President G.W. Bush in 2008 when it met all of its nuclear inspection requirements.
  • The bill is intended by Congress to force the current administration to pressure North Korea, rather than US allies. Whether or not sanctions work against North Korea is an open question.

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