New version of sanctions against Russia, Iran revealed

15 July, 2017, 00:10 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • White House Pressures Congress to Soften Russia Sanctions Bill

New economic sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran are missing from the list of bills the House is scheduled to vote on this week as Democrats and Republicans blame one another for stalling passage of the popular measure.

The sanctions bill, which passed the Senate by a 98-2 vote, would not only slap fresh sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran, but would limit President Donald Trump's powers to unilaterally ease sanctions himself by subjecting any attempted weakening of sanctions to congressional review.

House Republicans say Democrats are blocking the bill over a provision that would keep them from reversing possible changes the Trump administration might make to sanctions against Russian Federation, while House Democrats say it's Republicans who are holding up the bill. A deal was not reached in the meeting, according to congressional aides.

"I don't believe that having the president's party in a position to protect him from any oversight is good policy for our country, and in fact it'd be unsafe for our country", Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said during his weekly news conference.

Earlier this month, news began emerging on House members reportedly snagging the adoption of the bill citing technical issues.

The Democrats expressed concerns that Republican efforts to hold up the bill are a prelude to weakening the sanctions to please the Trump administration, and opposed any attempt to weaken the bill. They said the section would infringe on the president's executive authority.

But both Republican and Democratic House aides said talks between the two parties were continuing and there was a decent chance for a quick compromise, more so because of the latest revelations about Trump's eldest son. Only 50 Trump nominees have been confirmed so far, compared to 202 officials confirmed at the same point in the Obama administration, he said.

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House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he wanted the North Korea sanctions added to the bill.

Have House Republicans made a decision to act on the overwhelmingly bipartisan Senate bill - or are they just getting pushed into it by House Democrats at a very tricky political moment? The White House and the Kremlin have denied there was any interference in the election.

"Not only are the key national security, energy, financial, and regulatory positions left unfilled, procedural slowdowns have kept the senate committees from doing other legislative work", he said. "Failure to act on this sanctions bill makes the Speaker complicit in the White House's apparent efforts to repay Russia's political favors". "This is a smokescreen to a bill that needs to get done now".

A Russian sanctions bill has stalled in Congress amid partisan finger-pointing, leaving lawmakers anxious the inaction could limit their legislative check on the Trump administration. "This issue is easy to fix, fix it, send us back the bill - don't use it as an excuse not to pass the bill".

Returning the compounds or lifting other sanctions would have required congressional review under the legislation approved by the Senate, in an overwhelming 98-2 vote last month.

"There are some policy issues with respect to making sure that we don't actually inadvertently help Russian oligarchs and oil firms", Ryan said.

He responded with typical evasiveness, telling NBCs Katie Hunt, "I'm not going to go into hypotheticals", while insisting that "it's important that we get to the bottom of this".

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