House Looking at Moving Its Own Sanctions Bill, Adding North Korea

Marlene Weaver
July 16, 2017

The Russia sanctions bill passed the Senate on June 15 by 98-2, but it has not come up for a vote in the House.

The Senate changed the bill to address that issue, but also tweaked it in a way that Democrats said weakened a provision requiring Congress to approve any effort by the president to ease sanctions on Russian Federation.

This bill directed the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury and the Director of National Intelligence to submit a strategy every two years for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities that threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

The House rules committee made the first batch of 85 amendments in order Tuesday evening, with only a couple dealing with Russian Federation, and none of the amendments tied to Trump's businesses.

US President Donald Trump sidestepped a question about whether he would sign the new sanctions package if it reaches his desk. A disapproval resolution would be used by lawmakers to object if President Donald Trump were to ease sanctions on Russian Federation or other countries covered under the measure. But he appeared to object to a key part of the legislation that would give Capitol Hill a much stronger hand in determining Russian Federation sanctions policy.

House GOP leaders requested the change on the disapproval resolution procedure because the Senate wrote the bill without consulting them on House procedure, a leadership aide said. But no Trump administration official has contacted him to say "we don't want this legislation to pass". But Democrats then objected to a change by the Senate that they said weakened the bill by making it more hard for the House to vote on any change in sanctions policy by Trump. House Republican leaders said the bill ran afoul of a constitutional requirement that legislation involving revenue start in the House. "We could have fixed it in five minutes", Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters. The panel's top Democrat, California Sen.

White negotiations continue in the House about how to push the sanctions bill past a procedural dispute, oil and gas companies as well as other private-sector players are raising concerns to lawmakers about language in the legislation that might restrict their ability to do business with Russia-connected entities.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Democrats still were objecting to moving the bill in its current form.

Friday's announcement is the latest effort by Democrats to get answers on Russia's influence on the Trump administration.

The Russia sanctions legislation was written as an amendment to a bill imposing new sanctions on Iran over issues including its ballistic missile program. In some ways, his position has evolved: from saying that the story of Russian interference was spread (and possibly invented) by sore-losing Democrats to conceding that Russia was behind the hacks of Democrats' computer systems, and ultimately to confronting Russian President Vladimir Putin about the allegations.

"The issue is, is the House going to take up Russian Federation sanctions or not?"

Other reports by Insurance News

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