Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Washington at loggerheads over Russian Federation sanctions

The Latest Senate intel panel asks Trump Jr. for documents The Latest Senate intel panel asks Trump Jr. for documents
Lance Thomas | 15 July, 2017, 00:06

As new information comes to light about possible ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian officials, the House of Representatives is caught up in a debate over how much authority to give the president to potentially ease sanctions against Moscow.

Ryan told a news conference 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.

Administration officials are quietly trying to convince Republican congressmen that the bill passed by the Senate 97-2 needs waivers so that President Donald Trump's hands are not tied when he is trying to deal with Russian Federation.

"Let's say he is everything we fear that he might be in terms of like a Russian agent", Bergmann said.

But for now, the bill is stuck in the House, with both sides pointing fingers.

House Democrats are also seeking records pertaining to any conversation the president or his surrogates had about modifying or revoking existing sanctions against Russian Federation, as well as records about the reasons for the president's use of Homeland Security resources to provide protection at the taxpayers' expense.

Democrats countered that the administration has only itself to blame for the slow pace of filling vacancies.

It said the Democrats have shown that they are willing to break irresponsibly with tradition that allows a president to choose its own appointees in a timely fashion. Republicans say House Democrats are responsible for the current holdup due to their opposition to the changes.

He said the White House backs the sanctions in principle, adding, however, the bill was "so poorly written" that it "greatly hampers the executive branch's diplomatic efforts,"according to Radio Free Europe". Trump administration officials have been up on Capitol Hill lobbying against the measure.

But, the White House promised to block this document if it gets to the president's signature.

Ways & Means committee member Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said he has counted more than 20 GOP members who have told their constituents that they think the president should release his tax returns - words that Pascrell argued mean nothing if they are not willing to vote to force the issue.

The House passed a new package of sanctions on North Korea in May by 419-1, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican, said on Thursday his committee would be taking it up soon. He calls on Democrats to submit the draft bill, on a serious effort to resolve the issue. "Failure to act on this sanctions bill makes the Speaker complicit in the White House's apparent efforts to repay Russia's political favors".

Ryan said he has been told that US companies object to the energy-related sanctions in the bill, which oil and gas manufacturers say could hurt USA businesses while strengthening Russian interests. All they have to do is send the bill over here.

It also imposes sanctions on Russians convicted of human rights abuses or cyber attacks and would allow new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways.

But Ryan suggested that the House might address these concerns with changes to the measure. "There are some policy issues with respect to making sure that we don't actually inadvertently help Russian oligarchs and oil firms". "But you've got to want a bill, you've got to want to find it".

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