Opinion writer

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson shake hands at a signing ceremony of an agreement between state-controlled Russian oil company Rosneft and ExxonMobil in Russia in 2012. (RIA-Novosti/Associated Press)

The Post reported President Obama on Thursday ordered narrowly focused sanctions on Russia:

The new measures include sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies, three companies that are believed to have provided support for government cyber operations, and four Russian cyber officials. The two agencies named are the GRU, Russia’s military spy service, and the FSB, the civilian spy agency that grew out of the KGB.

The administration has also ordered 35 Russian operatives to leave the United States and will shut down Russian-owned facilities on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and on Long Island in New York believed to have been used for intelligence purposes.

Now is not the “time to get on with our lives,” but to take an appropriate response in line with the ongoing threat that Russia poses to our democracy and global security interests.  I welcome and support the new sanctions announced by the administration today – it is a good start.  Sanctions have been and will remain an important tool in the United States’ diplomatic arsenal to respond to attacks on our country and our allies and national security interests around the world.

It is not, however, sufficient.  The executive branch has acted, but it is imperative the legislative branch now pick up the ball and move it forward.  Congressional sanctions can complement and strengthen these new executive sanctions.

Therefore because of Russia’s attack on us, their destabilizing and murderous role in Syria, and their illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, I continue to believe the United States must go further and that is why I am introducing two bills next month – the first which would establish an independent, nonpartisan commission to further examine the attack and Russian’s efforts to interfere in our election. The second bill will frame our policy on Russia to include comprehensive enhanced sanctions in response to Russia’s interference in our election and its ongoing aggression in Ukraine and Syria. The bill will also increase assistance to bolster democratic institutions across Europe.