WASHINGTON -- U.S. lawmakers have introduced legislation requiring President Barack Obama to start imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials.
In the Senate, a bill from Democrats Bob Menendez and Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio compels Obama to target government officials responsible for the arrest or persecution of Venezuelans exercising their free speech. It also provides $15 million in new funds to promote democracy and rule of law there.
In the House, 10 representatives led by Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are seeking visa bans, asset freezes and financial sanctions on members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's government who've committed serious rights abuses.
It urges reduced U.S. imports of Venezuelan oil, too.
Weeks of protests in Venezuela have left at least 25 people dead.
The opposition says the government supports armed thugs attacking demonstrators.