Trump dodges on Russian Federation sanctions

Posted July 16, 2017

The addition of the House's North Korean sanctions bill would be yet another twist for the Senate's legislation that includes both Russian Federation and Iranian sanctions, which passed 98-2 one month ago.

House Democrats on Thursday introduced identical legislation to what was already passed by the Senate.

What began as a bill slapping sanctions on Iran for ballistic missile development and human rights violations is being mired in minutiae over a single added word-"Russia". Pointing out that Trump "fawns over Putin" while trying to loosen sanctions imposed against Russia for interfering in the election, Pelosi wondered "what do the Russians have" on Trump.

In a month when Americans celebrate the courage of the nation's founders, "the Republicans in Congress have become enablers of the Trump-Russia assault on our democracy", Pelosi said.

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.

But Republicans from the White House to Capitol Hill have said Democrats are playing "political games" and are being "hysterical".

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday he believed the North Korean sanctions bill, which passed almost unanimously in the House in May, should be added to the Russian Federation sanctions measure that passed the Senate one month ago. But no Trump administration official has contacted him to say "we don't want this legislation to pass".

"It is awesome how serious people are making an elephant out of a fly", Lavrov said at a news conference in Brussels. Now that change is drawing concern from some House Democrats, who say that it detracts from the minority's power to force a vote and hold the administration accountable if Trump tries to ease or lift Russian Federation sanctions. The panel's top Democrat, California Sen. "I would not and have never even thought about taking them off".

The House passed a North Korean sanctions bill in May 419-1, but the Senate has not yet taken up any North Korean sanctions measures.

A Treasury spokesman told CNNMoney that the agency "takes responsiveness to congressional requests very seriously and is committed to providing useful and appropriate responses to requests from Congressional members".

Despite a procedural dispute that has snagged the bill, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Wednesday that the House will resolve the issue and get the bill moving as quickly as possible.

However, another influential K Street presence - the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - is pressing for quick action on the bipartisan Iran sanctions bill to which the Russian Federation penalties are attached.

An assistant United States attorney in a January court hearing in NY said the federal government had bypassed the normal visa process and granted a "type of extraordinary permission" so that her client could be in the be deposed in a Justice Department lawsuit involving a Russian investment firm.

Still, the Tennessee senator stressed that the issue now was not about technicalities, but whether the House meant to take up the sanctions bill.