WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that he secured a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is currently being considered on the Senate floor, to expand current U.S. sanctions on North Korea. Brown named the bill in honor of Otto Warmbier, an Ohioan who lost his life after being held prisoner by the North Korean regime.
“It’s important we send a clear signal that the U.S. is serious about increasing pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program, and to stop its continuing human rights abuses like those that took the life of Otto Warmbier,” said Brown. “I thank Chairman Crapo, and Senators Toomey and Van Hollen for their leadership on this issue.”
The NDAA will include a new version of the bipartisan Otto Warmbier BRINK (Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea) Act, to strengthen and expand current U.S. sanctions on North Korea. Brown, Ranking Member on the Banking Committee, led this bill with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the committee. Brown worked alongside Sen. Crapo to shepherd this bill through committee. The original version of these sanctions against North Korea were first introduced last Congress and Banking Committee members Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) were lead cosponsors of the bill as well. The overall NDAA bill is being considered on the Senate floor this week. It will then go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
North Korea’s actions have drawn international condemnation. A North Korea armed with nuclear weapons presents a major threat to several of its Asian neighbors, as well as a serious threat to U.S. national security.
Specifically, the Otto Warmbier BRINK (Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea) Act would:
- 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 defined investment activity in North Korea;
- Strengthen Treasury’s role in combating human trafficking.