Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Senate GOP, Dems agree on new sanctions on Russia

National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow Russia National flags of Russia and the U.S. fly at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow Russia
Christy Curtis | 14 June, 2017, 05:01

The Senate reached a bipartisan agreement concerning the latest round of sanctions on Russian Federation late Monday night, imposing new economic restrictions on Moscow and bolstering congressional oversight created to limit Trump's executive powers in this area.

The proposal would provide for a congressional review process if the executive branch eases current sanctions on Russian Federation.

Lawmakers have been locked in talks for roughy a week about adding new financial penalties on Russian Federation, limiting Trump's ability to lift current sanctions or impose new ones.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson was noncommittal about a package of new Russian Federation sanctions, saying he's still reviewing the proposed penalties that Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed upon after lengthy negotiations.

The White House has been silent on the proposal and administration officials have been unclear on what the official position is.

"I wanted to give [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson until two weeks ago", Corker said, adding, "I've been ready the whole time".

During the presidential campaign, Trump said that he was open to revisiting sanctions imposed by the Obama administration. Congressional committees and the FBI are investigating the Russian interference and whether there was any collusion with Trump's campaign. Last Friday, Trump called the investigations into the interference and possible ties to his campaign "an excuse by the Democrats who lost an election that some people think they shouldn't have lost".

Sen. Cardin said it would be surprising to him if the President eventually vetoes the bill.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said at a White House event that he hopes lawmakers finalize their agreement on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

To become law, the legislation would have to pass the House of Representatives and be signed into law by Trump.

The legislation was crafted by senators Mike Crapo and Sherrod Brown of the Banking Committee, and Bob Corker and Ben Cardin of the Foreign Relations panel. Sanctions in case of their adoption may relate to mining and metallurgical sectors of the Russian economy, as well as projects in the field of railway transport and shipbuilding, media reported. And McConnell's support advanced the process quickly.

Top Democrats and Republicans announced the deal as an attachment to an Iran sanctions bill already under consideration.

Schumer reiterated his desire for a deal in a floor speech Monday, saying "Democrats feel strongly that Russian Federation sanctions should move alongside Iran sanctions, and we're prepared to do what we can to make sure that we get a vote on a good amendment - hopefully a bipartisan one". "Now he's surprised me on a lot of things", Sen. "It would be a little odd to take up sanctions that we need to do against a nation that poses us some threat in the region but (not) sanctions on a nation that all of our intel community has decided direct attacked American elections".

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