Gardner’s Bill to Determine if Russia is a State Sponsor of Terrorism Passes Foreign Relations Committee

Designation would require imposing tougher sanctions against the Kremlin

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) legislation to determine if Russia is a state sponsor of terror was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. The legislation, the Stopping Malign Activities from Russian Terrorism (SMART) Act, requires the State Department to determine within 90 days and report to Congress whether the Russian Federation meets the criteria under U.S. law to be designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. This designation is made by the Secretary of State for countries that “have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism” and currently includes North Korea, Iran, Syria, and Sudan. According to the State Department, “sanctions resulting from designation under these authorities include restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance; a ban on defense exports and sales; certain controls over exports of dual use items; and miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.”

“Vladimir Putin continues to try to cause grievous harm to international peace and stability, and I’m pleased today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced my critical legislation directing the State Department to consider naming Russia what they are – a state sponsor of terror,” said Senator Gardner. “Putin’s Russia has invaded its neighbors Georgia and Ukraine, supports the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad and many of our adversaries around the globe, and is engaged in election meddling and active information warfare against Western democracies. Russia is also directly responsible for heinous terrorist actions, such as the downing of Malaysia Flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014 that killed 298 people, including an American citizen, and the chemical weapons attacks in United Kingdom in 2018 that killed two people, including a British citizen. Unless Russia fundamentally changes its behavior, we must not repeat the mistakes of past Administrations of trying to normalize relations with a nation that continues to pose a serious threat to the United States and our allies.”

Read Senator Gardner’s Op-ed in the New York Times on why the State Department should support designating Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved other Gardner-backed legislation today, including:

  • S.J.RES.4, the Kaine-Gardner joint resolution requiring the advice and consent of the Senate or an Act of Congress to suspend, terminate, or withdraw the United States from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In April, the Senators authored an opinion editorial in the Atlantic commemorating the 70th anniversary of NATO.
  • S.RES.152, a resolution expressing the importance of the United States alliance with the Republic of Korea and the contributions of Korean Americans in the United States, which reinforces the importance of the Gardner-authored Asia Reassurance Initiative Act of 2018;
  • S.1830, bipartisan legislation to enhance energy security in Europe, including reducing energy dependence on Russia and expediting approval of exportation of U.S. natural gas to U.S. allies; and
  • S.2641, bipartisan legislation that will promote stability in Syria and impose additional sanctions against Turkey, among other provisions. 


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.