WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs passed unanimously the “Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act of 2017”. The bill is titled in honor of Ohioan Otto Warmbier, who lost his life after being held prisoner by the North Korean regime. Sen. Brown, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, has been leading efforts, along with Chairman Crapo, to advance the bipartisan legislation.

A North Korea armed with nuclear weapons presents an existential threat to several of its Asian neighbors, and a serious threat to U.S. national security. The “Otto Warmbier Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act of 2017” will expand and strengthen current U.S. sanctions on North Korea, further restricting the Kim regime’s ability to finance its advancing nuclear weapons capability and continued missile testing.

“On a bipartisan basis, this Committee forged legislation that cuts to the heart of the North Korean regime by targeting the economic resources that Kim Jong-Un needs to stay in power and achieve his nuclear ambitions,” said Brown. “We are sending a clear message to banks around the world - you can do business with North Korea, or with the U.S., but not both.”

Highlights of the legislation include measures to:

  • Strengthen and expand U.S. sanctions on North Korea and its financial facilitators and supporters;
  • Strengthen Congressional oversight of North Korea sanctions;
  • Allow states and local governments to divest from, or prohibit investment in, companies that engage in certain investment activity in North Korea;
  • Strengthen Treasury’s role in combating human trafficking.