Published: Tue, July 25, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Sen. Corker: No Deal Yet on Russia Sanctions Bill

Sen. Corker: No Deal Yet on Russia Sanctions Bill

Both Democratic and Republican leaders announced Saturday they'd reached agreement on a bill to codify sanctions from the Obama-era against Russian Federation.

Paired with the sanctions against Iran and North Korea, the House version of the bill was set for a vote Tuesday. Thomas Pyle, who led the new administration's agency transition team at the Energy Department, notes the potential for this legislation to affect companies that both contract with oil and gas producers, as well as others that have significant and long-standing business relationships with Russian firms on their own-everyone from Caterpillar to PepsiCo.

Procedural hangups had stalled the legislation in the House for weeks after the Senate passed it by a vote of 98-2 last month but negotiators reached a deal that was unveiled on Saturday.

The agreement on the sanctions was the result of an often contentious, month-long back-and-forth between the House and Senate after the Senate passed a bill for new sanctions against Russian Federation and Iran 98 to 2 in June.

The plan defies the White House's argument that President Trump needs flexibility to adjust the sanctions to fit his diplomatic initiatives with Moscow.

"Given the many transgressions of Russian Federation, and President Trump's seeming inability to deal with them, a strong sanctions bill such as the one Democrats and Republicans have just agreed to is essential", said Schumer, D-N.Y. "I expect the House and Senate will act on this legislation promptly, on a broad bipartisan basis and send the bill to the President's desk".

Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters on July 24 that "we still have a little work to do", adding that he expected differences over details in the legislation to be settled quickly.

And unless he wants to raise even more questions and alarm regarding the investigations into his campaign's dealings with Russia, Trump would do well to sign the bill.

The House had passed North Korea sanctions legislation earlier this spring by a vote of 419-1, which will now be included. Congress could then vote to approve or reject the changes.

A sanctions bill covering Russian Federation that the House is expected to take up Tuesday essentially would place President Trump's policy toward the regime of Vladimir Putin in receivership, preventing him from lifting sanctions without congressional agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's threats of retaliation should the USA refuse to hand over seized Russian diplomatic compounds used for espionage - as well as his country's election meddling, seizure of Crimea and pattern of harassing us diplomats - necessitate a strong response.

The White House had objected to a key section of the bill that would mandate a congressional review if Mr. Trump attempted to ease or end the sanctions against Moscow.

Last month, the European Union extended its economic sanctions on Russian Federation, which were originally imposed in July 2014 in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and the destabilizing of the situation in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin´s Government has denied any responsibility for the conflict in eastern Ukraine and reaffirmed that both the United States and European Union imposed such measures under illegitimate excuses.

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