Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Meet the 5 Lawmakers Who Voted Against the Russia Sanctions Bill

Created: 03 August, 2017
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

President Trump signed new sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea after overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.

The vote on new sanctions comes as an investigation into possible election meddling and cyberattacks by Russia continues. It was one of the rare instances where both sides of the aisle were able to come together and pass legislation

But there were 5 US lawmakers who voted against the bill: 4 libertarians and 1 progressive independent.

Those lawmakers were US Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), and US Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

An interesting group, to be sure.

Rep. Amash is developing a reputation as the next "Dr. No," a nickname given to Dr. Ron Paul during his tenure in the US House for his uncompromising stance on the role of government and the number of "No" votes he cast while in office.

Amash is also one of the most transparent members of Congress, posting the reason behind every vote on social media, either over Facebook, Twitter, or both. Here is what he said about his July 25 vote:


Rep. Massie, a member of the Liberty Caucus along with Amash, said on Twitter that "another Cold War with Russia will not" make America great again.


President Trump blasted Congress for the bill, pointing out that relations with Russia were already "at an all-time and dangerous low." Trump signed the bill though likely out of political pressure.


For his part, US Sen. Rand Paul said he didn't agree with new sanctions on Russia or Iran.


"Everything we say Russia's done wrong. So has China and us," he said in an interview.

Sanders, on the other hand, supports the sanctions on Russia, but believes lawmakers should delay further sanctions on Iran to protect the nuclear agreement made during the Obama administration.

"That is not a risk worth taking, particularly at a time of heightened tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia and its allies," Sanders said in a statement after voting the first time against the bill on June 15.

"I think the United States must play a more even-handed role in the Middle East, and find ways to address not only Iran's activities, but also Saudi Arabia's decades-long support for radical extremism."

Though Sanders does not agree with the other four on Russia sanctions, his response to Iran is similar: the US needs a more "even-handed approach." US policy needs to be less reactionary.

In the hyper-partisan environment where it appears Republicans and Democrats are always at each other's throats, it is easy to forget that both respond to what's at the fore of the national dialogue the same way: they do whatever they believe is the most politically expedient thing to do.

This inevitably results in knee-jerk, reactionary policy decisions that are more responsive to the media elite and special interests than the American voter.