Trump administration officials met with Hill aides last week on Russian Federation sanctions

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 14, 2017

He said he expected the House to make changes that would not affect the bill's overall character and to address issues that have anxious energy companies, such as a provision that oil firms said could block them out of worldwide exploration projects if Russian firms were also involved.

As new information comes to light about possible ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian officials, the House of Representatives is caught up in a debate over how much authority to give the president to potentially ease sanctions against Moscow.

Republicans, who control Congress, said the House could not vote on the Senate bill because it violated a constitutional requirement that legislation affecting government revenues originate in the House.

Democrats are suggesting that the delay is intentionally engineered by the Republicans out of loyalty for President Donald Trump, who opposes imposing extra sanctions on Russian Federation.

"We have a special counsel that is doing investigation over at the Justice Department, we have an investigation here in the House, we have an investigation in the Senate", Ryan told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference when asked about President Donald Trump's eldest son.

The Senate backed the sanctions legislation by 98-2 on June 15 but it has been stuck in the House of Representatives, amid partisan squabbling between Republicans and Democrats.

In an attempt to call out what Democrats believe are GOP stalling tactics, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said his party would introduce the original Senate-passed Russian Federation sanctions legislation later Wednesday, essentially daring the majority to act.

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.

Failure to move the bill forward could make it appear that Republicans aren't willing to punish Moscow for its interference in the election, as the US intelligence community has found it did.

"I think it's important that we get to the bottom of all of this", Ryan said, adding that he supports special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation, as well as the parallel investigations being conducted by the House and Senate intelligence committees.

"There's no question that the United States needs to respond", Cardin told reporters. Trump could veto the bill, but coming on the heels of the revelation about the meeting between a Kremlin-linked attorney and two of Trump's family members during the campaign, a veto would be controversial, to say the least.

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

The new bill introduced on Wednesday would eliminate that change to allow House Democrats, as well as Republicans, to force a vote on a resolution of disapproval of any effort to ease Russian Federation sanctions. "The speaker indicated he had concerns about the Senate language", he continued.

Hoyer said he doesn't believe the White House is supportive of the measure, but Democrats plan to introduce a companion bill to the Senate's in the House Wednesday.

Hoyer said he had proposed a compromise to Republican leadership Tuesday night that would allow minority leadership to express those concerns.

The document is identical to the one that was supported by the Senate about a month ago with an absolute majority of votes.

If the House passes the bill and sends it to the president's desk, a veto is unlikely.

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