Democrats Release New Bill On Russia And Iran Sanctions

Andrew Cummings
July 15, 2017

Seeking to force Republican House leaders to allow a vote, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced legislation unchanged from what passed the Senate by 98-2 on June 15 but has been stalled ever since.

However, the bill still needs to pass the House and be signed by US President Donald Trump to become law.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a new version of a Russian Federation and Iran sanctions bill on Wednesday, hoping to send a message to President Donald Trump to maintain a strong line against Moscow.

"We're talking with the Democratic members about it, trying to put together a bipartisan bill, and we're moving forward", the California Republican said.

Smith, director of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, and other Treasury and State Department officials met with congressional aides from the offices of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees, according to the staffers.

Reps. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and Ted Lieu, D-Calif., read the emails aloud amid a backdrop of a large poster board of Trump, Jr. on the cover of this week's Time magazine with the words "Red Handed" emblazoned on it, The Hill reported Friday. But in the wake of that report, Trump Jr.'s statements regarding the meeting changed.

Russian Federation has repeatedly denied interference in the USA presidential election and has called such allegations absurd and meant to deflect public attention from revealed instances of election fraud and corruption as well as other domestic concerns. Democrats and some Republicans who backed the bill scoffed, saying the problem could have been quickly remedied. "We could have fixed it in five minutes", Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters. "Chairman Royce and I have discussed the desire of some House members to add North Korea provisions to the Senate's legislation to sanction Iran and Russian Federation, and we would be more than glad to take a close look at it if this is the path they choose".

The administration officials, who were career civil servants, expressed concerns during the meeting about the congressional review provisions in the bill, which would give Congress veto power if the White House tries to loosen sanctions on Russian Federation, according to the staffers.

House Republican leaders said they had not taken up the original Senate bill because it violated a constitutional requirement that all legislation affecting government revenues originate in the House, known as a "blue slip" issue.

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.

"Tonight, House Republicans made themselves accomplices to hiding President Trump's tax returns from the American people", she said in a press conference in February.

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