US House Democratic Whip Hopes for Russia Sanctions Vote This Week

Eloi Lecerf
Julho 12, 2017

"It's no surprise that the White House has voiced its opposition to this bill and tougher sanctions on Russian Federation", said Deutch.

Yesterday's White House press briefing was barred from video but audio had been allowed.

But many of Trump's fellow Republicans said they wanted to move ahead nonetheless to send a strong message to Russian Federation.

Trump has held some public events at the White House to push the health care bill, he has held no public events outside the White House aimed exclusively on selling the legislation and raising pressure on fellow Republicans.

The bill in question was passed by the Senate in mid-June by a veto-proof majority of 98 to 2. "I don't think that's a hold up", he said.

The news of the meeting in Trump Tower a year ago also came just days after Mr. Trump tweeted that sanctions didn't come up in his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit over the weekend. The measure was put forward by Corker himself and ranking member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland).

Still, the Tennessee senator stressed that the issue now was not about technicalities, but whether the House meant to take up the sanctions bill.

Donald Trump Jr. published emails Tuesday showing he attended a meeting last June with a Russian attorney to discuss allegedly incriminating information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton he was told was being offered as part of the Russian government's support of his father's candidacy. It also introduces additional sanctions on Iran over its human rights record and support for allied Syrian militias.

Alleging that democratic senators have allowed only 10 percent of Trump's confirmations to happen by voice vote, while more than 90 percent of Obama's were confirmed by a simple voice vote in 2009, the White House said in just a few months the Democrats have delayed the nominations by going through the burdensome cloture process 30 times. House GOP leaders originally raised constitutional concerns with the Senate's bill, arguing that the sanctions affect revenue and therefore must originate in the House.

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Trump on Tuesday morning also retweeted a soundbite from Sen. In the original bill, any House member could force a vote on blocking Trump from loosening sanctions.

The White House has been talking to lawmakers about amending the bill with national security waivers. And now GOP leadership is blaming them for the delay.

Ashley Etienne, as spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, rejected that charge. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is close to the president, has also officially deferred to the committees.

Not all House Democrats are convinced this is a fight worth having as they push for a quick vote on the bill, arguing that House Republicans could always use procedural measures to avoid tough votes on Russian Federation sanctions in the future regardless of the language in the bill. "House Republicans need to end this charade".

"All they've got to do is send it over here", Corker said.

Multiple House GOP aides say there are a couple of snags that are now being discussed at the leadership level.

Some Russia hawks are starting to wonder whether both issues are an excuse to buy time, however.

And after a brief attempt to swat away criticism surrounding the revelation that Donald Trump, Jr. had met - alongside Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort - with a Russian lawyer, Sanders said she'd have nothing further to add on the matter. Positions still awaiting confirmation votes include deputy secretary of defense, principal deputy under the secretary of defense and assistant secretary of defense, the White House said.

It is a privilege Congress has infrequently awarded itself - such as in 2015, when lawmakers insisted on a chance to weigh in on the Iran nuclear deal - as presidents are typically afforded broad discretion to impose and lift financial sanctions as a foreign policy tool. "Could the White House be working against it?"

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