WASHINGTON (AP) — A bill to toughen sanctions against North Korea and restrict its access to hard currency has passed a legislative hurdle in the U.S. Congress.

Both Republicans and Democrats backed the move, saying they supported stronger action to combat Pyongyang’s development of nuclear weapons and serious human rights abuses.

The bill would empower the U.S. president to shut out of the U.S. financial system foreign banks that facilitate “proliferation, arms trafficking, kleptocracy, and imports of luxury goods” by North Korea’s government.

The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved the measure Thursday.

Republican committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce likened it to U.S. sanctions imposed in 2005 against a Macau-based bank, but later lifted to facilitate nuclear talks with North Korea.

The prospects for passage of the legislation remain uncertain.

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