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Lawmakers herald bipartisan deal on sweeping Russia sanctions bill

By in Press Enterprise on July 23, 2017

By The Associated Press

By RICHARD LARDNER

WASHINGTON Congressional Republicans and Democrats announced Saturday they had reached an agreement on a sweeping Russia sanctions package to punish Moscow for meddling in the presidential election and its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said lawmakers had settled lingering issues with the bill, which also includes stiff economic penalties against Iran and North Korea. The sanctions targeting Russia, however, have drawn the most attention due to President Donald Trump’s persistent push for warmer relations with President Vladimir Putin and ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.

Passage of the bill, which could occur before Congress breaks for the August recess, puts Capitol Hill on possible collision course with Trump. The White House had objected to a key section of the bill that would mandate a congressional review if Trump attempted to ease or end the sanctions against Moscow. But if Trump were to veto the bill, he risks sparking an outcry from Republicans and Democrats and having his decision overturned. The sanctions review was included in the bill because of wariness among lawmakers from both parties over Trump’s affinity for Putin.

The precise mechanics of how involved House Democrats would be in the review process had been a key sticking point, but Hoyer said he’s satisfied with the outcome.

“The legislation ensures that both the majority and minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the administration’s implementation of sanctions,” Hoyer said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the sanctions legislation “strong” and he expected the legislation to be passed promptly.

“Given the many transgressions of Russia, and President Trump’s seeming inability to deal with them, a strong sanctions bill such as the one Democrats and Republicans have just agreed to is essential,” said Schumer, D-N.Y.

House Majority Leader Kevin […]    

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