Washington, D.C. – Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) continued to press for Russia to be held accountable for its likely use of chemical weapons in recent attacks on civilians in the United Kingdom. In a letter to the president, Royce noted that the administration missed a statutorily required deadline under the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991, initiated by his March inquiry, to report on whether the Russian Government is responsible for the attack.

Should the president determine that Russia is responsible for the attacks, as the administration has previously indicated, the 1991 act requires mandatory sanctions be applied. Chairman Royce requested that the administration comply with the law and issue the report to the Foreign Affairs Committee within two weeks.

Full text of the letter is available below. A signed PDF copy is available HERE.

July 26, 2018

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On March 15, 2018, after consulting with my Ranking Member, I submitted to you a request for a determination regarding whether the Russian Government violated the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (22 U.S.C. 5601 et seq.) in connection with the recent poisoning of British citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

Pursuant to section 306(b) of that law (22 U.S.C. 5604(b)), your findings were due to the Committee within 60 days. Ninety-three days have now passed since my request, yet we have not received the statutorily required determination.

Mr. President, last week’s news reports that British police have used video footage to identify multiple Russian suspects involved in the nerve attack further underscore the urgency of this matter. You have already indicated in a previous statement that it is “highly likely” Russia is responsible for these brazen attacks, and thereafter ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States “in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom.”

Your enforcement of the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 is critical to deterring additional attacks. Upon your determination that Russia is responsible for the March 15 poisonings, mandatory sanctions will be imposed. These sanctions will remain in place, and increase over time, until Russia takes steps that include allowing U.N. inspections and providing “reliable assurances” it will not again use banned chemical weapons.

In recent years, Vladimir Putin has steadily escalated his campaign to consolidate power and undermine the United States. Your compliance with the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 is critical to showing Putin that we are serious about challenging his deadly acts, as well as his ongoing attacks on our democracy.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I respectfully request that you submit to the Committee the written report required by 22 U.S.C. 5604(b)(2) no later than 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

I look forward to continuing to work with your Administration to hold Russia accountable.