US Democrats introduce new bill on Russian Federation and Iran sanctions

The White House is complaining that Russia sanctions legislation doesn't allow the president to grant waivers when sanctions are put in place

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced plans Friday to force House Republicans to take on-the-record positions on President Trump's possible Russian ties.

The document was submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday evening, the Reuters news agency reported.

But Short also confirmed that the White House is lobbying Republicans to change parts of the Senate's sanctions bill that would make it more hard for Trump to roll back or end sanctions against Moscow.

The bill codified existing sanctions against Russian Federation, while stepping up punitive measures over its interference in Syria, Ukraine and the 2016 USA election; it also increases sanctions against Iran for a series of recent ballistic missile tests.

The Senate changed the bill to address that issue, but also tweaked it in a way that Democrats said weakened a provision requiring Congress to approve any effort by the president to ease sanctions on Russian Federation.

Pelosi made that statement as she announced on Friday "a new coordinated effort" by Democrats to try to get records regarding the Trump family's and administration's ties to Russian Federation. "That's missing from this debate and that's very unfortunate, both on the Democrats and the Republicans".

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The fight over the House language is the latest twist for a bill that passed the Senate almost a month ago. Grassley wouldn't say what he wants to hear from the president's eldest son, but said members aren't restricted "from asking anything they want to ask". Trump Jr. did so, however, only after The New York Times told him that it was about to release them. "It would be considered as a House bill, which would in and of itself cure the serious issue of the "blue slip" constitutional requirement", Hoyer said. But doing so likely creates a serious hurdle for the bill in the Senate, where lawmakers have not examined the House's North Korea sanctions bill, and will probably want to consider a bipartisan sanctions measure of their own, unveiled by Sens. "This is grandstanding and not a serious effort to resolve this issue and hold Russian Federation accountable".

New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House foreign affairs committee, charged that adding the North Korean sanctions legislation was "silly" and said, "It's clear to me they are trying to kill" the Senate's Russian Federation sanctions bill.

White negotiations continue in the House about how to push the sanctions bill past a procedural dispute, oil and gas companies as well as other private-sector players are raising concerns to lawmakers about language in the legislation that might restrict their ability to do business with Russia-connected entities.

The Democrats will make multiple "resolutions of inquiry", a rarely used legislative tactic in which members of Congress request information from the executive branch, and if the committee does not act on the resolution, a vote on the floor of the House can be called for.

"We relied upon the House, and it was told to us it was technical in that it had the proper sign off", Cardin said. The implication was that after being re-elected, Obama could be "more flexible" on Russian issues.

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