House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said more details on the vote will be announced in the near future but confirmed there would be action.
Monday’s blast, detected by seismic sensors and announced by the North Korean regime, was the nation’s fourth nuclear test and the first since February 2013. North Korea is already subject to a variety of economic sanctions, including an arms embargo and international banking restrictions, levied both by the United Nations Security Council and individual governments in response to its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests.
The Obama administration has issued several orders targeting North Korean money laundering, arms sales and other illegal activities and has targeted individual entities and persons for sanctions. It is unlikely that a new round of unilateral sanctions could significantly change the North Korean strategic position, but there is some thought that the most recent test — said to be a hydrogen bomb by Pyongyang but whose actual nature is in doubt — could prompt China, North Korea’s most important trading partner and ally, to join in a crackdown.
The U.N. Security Council met Wednesday and said that it “will begin to work immediately” on “further significant measures” in response to the new nuclear test.
Later Thursday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a statement that the bill set for a vote next week would “prohibit North Korea’s access to hard currency and other measures to block and seize assets related to nuclear proliferation, illicit activities, and human rights violations that are the hallmark of the Kim regime.”
Pelosi said the new package of possible unilateral sanctions “has been in the works for a while.”
“This did not just materialize since Monday night’s test,” she said. “But it is ready to go and we will support it.”