The US Congress has been empowered to block any efforts by President Donald Trump to scale back sanctions against Russia.
The power would allow congress to strengthen those sanctions in retaliation for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and its actions in Syria.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to allow Congress exercise the power.
According to Washington Post, the vote of 97 to 2 is a sharp rebuke to Trump’s posture on Russia and his resistance to the intelligence community’s assessment that the country was behind efforts to influence the election he won.
The two senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah).
Trump has repeatedly and openly doubted the intelligence community’s finding that Russia meddled in the presidential election.
While his administration has not ordered a rollback of any existing sanctions, lawmakers have been concerned about his conciliatory, and at times even forgiving, rhetoric about Russia, as well as recent moves to give Moscow back control over two diplomatic compounds that the Obama administration reclaimed in late December.
The administration said Russia had been using the facilities for intelligence gathering; when they were shuttered, 35 Russian operatives were also expelled from the country.