President Obama Signs Gardner’s North Korea Sanctions Bill Into Law

Washington, DC: President Barack Obama today signed Senator Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act into law. This legislation received rare, overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the Senate 96-0 and the House of Representatives by 408-2. The North Korea Sanctions Policy and Enhancement Act imposes 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 is the first passed by Congress to impose mandatory sanctions on cybercriminals, a drastic new direction away from the current discretionary sanctions. 

“The President’s signing of my North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act represents a major shift in U.S. policy toward North Korea,” said Gardner. “It is the Obama Administration’s recognition that their strategic patience policy has failed and we need a new direction to stop North Korea's increasing belligerence. My bill provides that new policy of strength, and I’m proud that Congress put politics aside and came together to approve mandatory sanctions designed to stop the Forgotten Maniac in Pyongyang. Today, we’ve given our allies a reason to trust us, and our enemies a reason to fear us.”



  • 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 10, 2016, the Senate approved the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act and on February 12, 2016, the House of Representatives approved the Senate version of the bill. 


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.


354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510

(202) 224-5941