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Jon Chol Jin / AP

The death of 22-year-old American student Otto Warmbier, who was released last week from a North Korean prison, is sparking a greater political debate over how to hold Kim Jong-un's regime responsible. One option of retaliation is for Congress or the Trump administration to issue new restrictions on Americans traveling to North Korea.

Last month, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Joe Wilson (R-SC) proposed a new bill that, if passed in Congress, would require Americans traveling to North Korea to obtain a license, and Americans would be banned from visiting as tourists, per NY Mag.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also hinted to a House committee last week that the administration may introduce such a ban. "We haven't come to a final conclusion, but we are considering it," Tillerson said.

Involving China: Tillerson, who has vowed to take a more aggressive approach on North Korea, may also look to China as the administration has done in recent months, to ramp up pressure on Kim Jong-un's regime. Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis are set to meet with their Chinese counterparts later this week, and advancing work against North Korea is expected to dominate a large part of their meetings.

Lawmakers' calls for action:

  • President Trump: "[Warmbier's death] deepens my administration's determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency."
  • Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) on his proposed bill: "Tourist travel to North Korea does nothing but provide funds to a tyrannical regime – that will in turn be used to develop weapons to threaten the United States and our allies... Worse, the regime has routinely imprisoned innocent foreign civilians and used them as bargaining chips to gain credibility with the West."
  • Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): " Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime... [the regime] has escalated to brutalizing Americans, including three other citizens currently imprisoned in North Korea. The United States of America cannot and should not tolerate the murder of its citizens by hostile powers."
  • Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R): "All Ohioans mourn the death of Otto Warmbier, a young man of exceptional spirit... This horrendous situation further underscores the evil, oppressive nature of the North Korean regime that has such disregard for human life."

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves to be removed after fires

A firefighter looks up at a giant sequoia tree after fire burned through the Sequoia National Forest near California Hot Springs, California, on Sept. 23. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

"Upwards of" 10,000 trees near giant sequoia groves have been "weakened by drought, disease, age, and/or fire" and must be removed in the wake of California's wildfires, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced.

Why it matters: The damage to these trees, considered "national treasures," and work to remove them means a nearby key highway must remain closed to visitors as they have "the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services," per a statement from the national parks.

Obama stumps for McAuliffe, urges Virginians not "to go back to the chaos"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama framed a Nov. 2 gubernatorial race as a bellwether for the Democratic Party and the country, telling a crowd at a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe on Saturday that "I believe you, right here in Virginia, are going to show the rest of the country and the world that we're not going to indulge in our worst instincts."

Why it matters: With just over a week to go before Election Day in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe is bringing out the big guns. The 44th president appeared on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University to urge supporters to get to the polls.