Published: Fri, July 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Russia Probe, Delays Complicate House Sanctions on Russia

Russia Probe, Delays Complicate House Sanctions on Russia

Ryan told a news conference he wants to move a strong bill regarding sanctions on Russian Federation as quickly as possible but that the legislation still faced procedural and policy hurdles.

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.

Ryan and other House GOP leaders are pointing to Democrats for blocking unanimous consent to send the bill to the Senate. Some Democrats had accused Trump's fellow Republicans of stalling the sanctions package at least until after that meeting, to please the president.

US President Donald Trump sent mixed signals about USA sanctions against Russian Federation in a conversation with reporters released by the White House on Thursday.

"I don't believe that having the president's party in a position to protect him from any oversight is good policy for our country and, in fact, could be unsafe to our country", House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D., Md.) said Wednesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said a strong sanctions bill against Russian Federation would come up for a vote soon, despite procedural delays and claims of partisan clashes on Capitol Hill.

The bill has been mired in the House ever since.

The sanctions build on executive actions taken by then-President Barack Obama after the Russian annexation of Crimea, and previous year in response to confirmation by the USA intelligence community of Russian election interference. "We call this blue slip", he told reporters.

But both Republican and Democratic House aides said talks between the two parties were continuing and there was a decent chance for a quick compromise, more so because of the latest revelations about Trump's eldest son.

"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. "I urge House Republicans to work with us to address this issue so that the House can pass a strong sanctions bill this week". "But aside from those issues, we want to get this done".

"The question really is not what the members want, the question is what the leadership is willing to allow and how much pressure they're under", Schiff said Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

Hoyer and other House Democrats argue the sanctions are a needed check on an administration that is too close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Once these sanctions are in place, it's a pretty inflexible tool and if Russia were to comply with some of the Minsk Agreement provisions, it's not that easy to begin lifting the sanctions", said Dr. Angela Stent, director of Georgetown University's Center for Eurasian, Russian and Eastern European Studies. "And if he puts the Senate bill on the floor, we'll support it". Additionally, the Senate is expected to have enough votes to override a presidential veto, making the bill law.

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