Tomorrow, the House will again take up Chairman Ed Royce’s North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 (H.R. 757).  This bill takes critical steps to pressure the Kim regime and his inner circle in response to North Korea’s continued efforts to build a nuclear arsenal capable of striking the United States.  As Chairman Royce has said “the answer to North Korea’s threats is more pressure, not less.”

Here are 10 reasons this bill needs to get to President Obama’s desk:

  • The administration’s “strategic patience” isn’t working.  In just the past two months, the Kim regime has conducted yet another nuclear test, launched an ICBM missile test and restarted a plutonium reactor that could yield materials for a bomb “within weeks,” according to U.S. intelligence.
  • The bill imposes new sanctions to deny the Kim regime the cash it needs to sustain power, and its illicit weapons programs.  Anyone involved in weapons proliferation, significant arms trafficking, exporting luxury goods, censorship, human rights violations, or money laundering will face mandatory sanctions.
  • It seizes assets connected with North Korea’s proliferation, illicit activities and human rights violations.
  • It authorizes additional penalties, including visa bans and denial of government contracts to ensure that Kim and top North Korean officials are cut off from the U.S. financial system.
  • It puts the “financial death penalty in play.”  The bill calls for a determination as to whether North Korean banks and government entities are “primary money laundering concerns” – a tool used previously against Iran that is widely viewed as the financial death penalty.
  • It enhances inspection requirements for ships that carry North Korean cargoThis provision addresses North Korea’s continued smuggling of arms and materials for its missile and nuclear programs.
  • It makes sanctions against individuals engaged in cyberattacks mandatory.  A year ago, the administration promised a “proportional response” to the regime’s massive cyberterrorist attack against the U.S.  But to date, that response has been dangerously weak.
  • It addresses the Kim regime’s horrific record of human rights abuses.  The bill requires the administration to develop a strategy to promote North Korean human rights, including a list of countries that use North Korean slave labor.
  • It requires a report on North Korea’s vast prison camp network.  Recent estimates have indicated that 80,000 to 120,000 North Koreans – including children – suffer in awful conditions.
  •  The bill has overwhelming support.  The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel, passed the House 418-2 last month.  An amended version passed the Senate Wednesday 96-0.