US Senate reaches deal on Russia sanctions

June 29, 2017 10:30 pm

A file photo of the Capitol

The US Senate has reached an agreement to resolve a technical issue stalling a new package of sanctions against , although the measure’s fate in the House of Representatives remained uncertain, according to lawmakers from the two chambers of Congress.
The sanctions bill passed the Senate by a nearly unanimous 98-2 margin on June 15, but it was blocked in the House, where Republican leaders said the Senate bill violated a constitutional requirement that any bill affecting government revenues originate in the House, something known as a “blue slip” violation.
Democrats accused House Republican leaders of trying to kill the legislation to please President Donald Trump after administration officials said they had concerns about it.
Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Senate reached a “unanimous consent” agreement on Thursday that resolved the issue, sending it back to the House. It was not immediately clear how the House would respond.
If passed in the House and signed into law by Trump, the measure would impose new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways and targets Russians responsible for conducting alleged cyber-attacks or supplying weapons to Syria’s government.
It also sets up a review process that would require Trump to get Congress’ approval before taking any action to ease, suspend or lift any existing sanctions on Russia.
Trump, who has called for better relations between the Kremlin and the White House, will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany next week.
The US and its Western allies have already imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia over its reunification with Crimea and the Ukrainian conflict.
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