House approves Russia sanctions curbing President Trump’s power
eurobanks/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed sweeping sanctions that punish Russia for its election meddling and aggression toward its neighbors.
The legislation passed by a count of 419-3, sending a strong bipartisan message to the White House that Congress will maintain its check on power over President Donald Trump.
“The multitude of threats posed to our national security by Iran, Russia, and North Korea cannot be understated,” Speaker Paul Ryan noted following the vote. “These bad actors have long sought to undermine the United States and disrupt global stability. Our job in Congress is to hold them accountable. The bill we just passed with overwhelming bipartisan support is one of the most expansive sanctions packages in history. It tightens the screws on our most dangerous adversaries in order to keep Americans safe.”
Three Republicans — Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, John Duncan of Tennessee and Thomas Massie of Kentucky — voted against the measure.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where an earlier version passed behind another bipartisan tally 98-2.
But with the upper chamber now consumed with health care reform, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said it’s possible the package may not face a vote on final passage before the August recess.
Corker also lamented the process for getting the legislation passed.
“It would have been much cleaner just to send Russia and Iran over. That was the language everyone agreed to,” Corker told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, urged his Republicans colleagues to take up the bill as soon as possible.
“Senate Republican leaders should move this bill as soon as possible, so that it can be on the president’s desk without delay. Passing the bill on a bipartisan basis will send a strong signal to the White House that the Kremlin needs to be held accountable for meddling in last year’s election,” Schumer wrote in a statement.
The White House has also sent contradictory signals on whether the president will sign the legislation, though it appears to have veto-proof majorities in both chambers.
“He’s going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like,” incoming White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Monday.
In a statement later, Sanders added, “While the president supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the president’s desk.”
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