U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says he hopes Republican gains in midterm elections will breathe new life into efforts to impose sanctions on Venezuelan officials who commit human rights abuses.

The Florida Republican is a sponsor of legislation targeting Venezuela's socialist government that has been stalled since clearing the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May with bipartisan support. A similar version has passed the U.S. House.

Rubio spoke Wednesday in Colombia's capital a day after Republicans' won control of the Senate. While welcoming the Obama administration's decision to impose a travel ban on senior Venezuelan officials who helped quell anti-government demonstrations earlier this year, Rubio said more action is needed to punish President Nicolas Maduro's government.

"I hope we can achieve something much stronger," Rubio told journalists.