Russia Sanctions Bill Stalled in House Amid Pushback From Trump

The draft law includes the imposition of individual and sectoral sanctions against Russian Federation, and also fixes the existing restrictions against Russian Federation, depriving the president of the right to cancel them without the approval of the U.S. Congress. In the original legislation, any member could have begun the process, as the measure allows in the Senate.

"There has been some assertion that we are holding up the bill", Hoyer said.

"The House ought to have the same authority", Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland said in a statement.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday said 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. House Republican leaders said the bill ran afoul of a constitutional requirement that legislation involving revenue start in the House.

But many of Trump's fellow Republicans said they wanted to move ahead nonetheless to send a strong message to Russian Federation. The president's son posted emails showing he was told before the meeting a year ago - which also included then-campaign manager Paul Manafort and Trump Jr.'s brother-in-law Jared Kushner - that the information came from officials in Moscow as part of an effort to help his father's campaign.

"These sanctions would significantly hamper Russia's ability to influence European economies through the energy sector, which has been the primary tool [that] the Russians - through [natural gas producer] Gazprom, through other means of export of gas and oil - have sought to gain a foothold in European economies", Dr. Alina Polyakova, director of research for Europe and Eurasia at the Atlantic Council, told VOA.

"In retrospect, I probably would have done things a little differently", Trump Jr. told Fox News' Sean Hannity during an interview Tuesday evening, adding that the meeting happened before Russian involvement became a major story during the campaign season.

"You know me on this issue, I'm a Russia hawk, I believe in strong, bold Russian sanctions".

"I think as soon as tomorrow, the House (of Representatives) could pass it out", Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an author of the bill, told reporters.
"I think it is very important that these professionals and these committees do their job so we can get to the bottom of all of this". Corker said. "Because they can do whatever they wish to solve this problem. It will be done".

A key sticking point for Democrats is a proposed technical change to the bill made late last month by the Senate that Democratic aides said Monday would prevent rank-and-file House members from being able to challenge a president's decision to lift or ease the sanctions against Russian Federation.

Hoyer said he had proposed a compromise to Republican leadership Tuesday night that would allow minority leadership to express those concerns. "And if he puts the Senate bill on the floor, we'll support it".

The legislation also places new penalties on Iran over its ballistic missile program.

Marc Short, the White House legislative director, told reporters that the administration backs the new sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran. Those who are sanctioned would have their assets within US jurisdiction frozen and would be barred from entering the country.

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