US Democrats introduce new bill on Russian Federation and Iran sanctions

Bill Rogers
July 15, 2017

"What happened with Donald Trump Jr. just underscores how Russian Federation was operating", said senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"We need to ensure that President Trump is not enriching himself while serving in the ultimate position of public trust", Johnson said.

"In an effort to prevent President Trump from following through on the policies for which the American people voted, Senate democrats are putting his nominations through time- consuming parliamentary procedures not seen by the previous Administration", it said.

The legislation, however, has stalled in the House as the administration works to soften the congressional reach.

Trump's warm approach to Russian Federation - along with investigations into whether his campaign colluded with the Kremlin to meddle in the 2016 election - has many lawmakers uneasy about leaving the country's sanctions policy to the president alone.

House Republicans said on Monday that the Senate change had not satisfied the procedural concern and that the Senate would have to change it and vote again.

The Senate bill has stalled in the House of Representatives over procedural issues.

The document also suggests that the USA president can impose sanctions on persons who intend to invest in the construction of Russian export pipelines more than $5 million per year or $1 million at a time or to provide projects with services, technologies and information support.

But House Democrats' refusal to back the legislation as it stands is giving Republicans an opportunity to charge that Democrats are the ones blocking the bill over what the GOP dismisses as a technicality.

A new Russian Federation sanctions bill is still in limbo because the US House of Representatives is hesitant to pass it, the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee admitted, dismissing previous suggestions that it had stalled due to procedural issues.

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A spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., cast the current roadblock as the fault of Republicans.

Hoping to send a strong message to President Donald Trump, senior Democrats introduced an nearly identical sanctions bill that was passed 98-2 last June but has stalled since.

If the House passes the bill and sends it to the president's desk, a veto is unlikely. Holding a vote on the sanctions bill, they fear, could lead to similar roadblocks on other bills in the future.

But for now, the bill is stuck in the House, with both sides pointing fingers. Specifically, the changed language would only allow the House Speaker - a Republican - to trigger a vote to block Trump from rolling back sanctions.

But Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told THE WEEKLY STANDARD that it remained unclear as of yet whether Democrats would file their own bill.

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.

"The fix is nothing. We could have fixed it in five minutes", Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters.

"Russia doesn't have the capacity to fully develop its energy without foreign investment, so by putting sanctions on foreign energy companies that would go in and invest in Russian Federation, that would ... really hurt Russia's ability to develop these resources", Bergmann said. "Instead they're searching high and low for excuses to drag out the process, weaken the bill, and let Russian Federation and the White House off the hook".

McCarthy, R-Calif., didn't specify what Pompeo was referring to. Mike Lee (R-Utah) voting against it.

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.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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