House Approves Gardner’s North Korea Sanctions Bill

Bill Now Heads to President’s Desk

Washington, DC: The House of Representatives today approved Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act after it passed the Senate on Wednesday with overwhelming bipartisan support. The legislation would impose mandatory sanctions on individuals who contribute to North Korea’s nuclear program and proliferation activities, malicious cyberattacks, censorship of its citizens, and the regime’s continued human rights abuses. This legislation, if enacted and signed into law, would be the first passed by Congress to impose mandatory sanctions on cybercriminals, representing a drastic new direction away from the current discretionary sanctions. 

“I’m pleased the House acted to replace the Obama Administration’s failed policy of ‘strategic patience’ toward North Korea with mandatory sanctions designed to stop the Forgotten Maniac in Pyongyang. North Korea’s behavior is increasingly belligerent, and recent headlines and military experts confirm its nuclear, ballistic missile, and cyber capabilities are growing. At the same time, the ruthless regime continues to imprison and torture more than 200,000 of its own men, women, and children,” said Gardner. “The North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act vigorously pursues sanctions against individuals who contribute to the regime’s proliferation activities, cyberattacks, censorship, and human rights abuses. I’m proud that Congress came together to address the Forgotten Maniac, and I look forward to the President signing this overwhelmingly bipartisan legislation into law.”


  • In April, Gardner urged the Obama Administration to act following reports that the regime is expanding its nuclear stockpile. 
  • In May, Gardner introduced a resolution urging new sanctions on North Korea in reaction to the regime’s long history of human rights abuses, military threats, and international law violations. 
  • In August, Gardner met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and discussed the threat the regime poses to South Korea and the region. 
  • In October, Gardner chaired a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on North Korea and the Obama Administration’s failed policies, and reacted to the Obama Administration’s announcement of limited new sanctions, calling them “not nearly enough.” Later that month, Gardner along with Senators Rubio and Risch introduced the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jim Risch (R-ID), David Perdue (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are cosponsors of the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act.  
  • In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Gardner discussed the legislation he introduced and urged action against the “Forgotten Maniac.” 
  • After the regime’s nuclear test in early January, Gardner responded by calling for immediate action and was disappointed the President failed to mention North Korea or its most recent test during his final State of the Union address. 
  • Gardner reacted to North Korea’s satellite launch on February 6, 2016 by calling for mandatory sanctions.
  • On February 11, 2016, the Senate approved the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act.


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 the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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