US congress agrees on Russia sanctions

364 desk, July 27: House and Senate Republicans have reached a deal that is paving the way to send a bill to President Donald Trump’s desk that slaps Russia with new sanctions and limits Trump’s ability to remove them.

After a day of trading barbs, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker reached an agreement Wednesday evening on the legislation for new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, Corker’s office announced.

“Following very productive discussions with Leader McCarthy, I am glad to announce that we have reached an agreement that will allow us to send sanctions legislation to the president’s desk,” Corker said in a statement.

A spokesman for McCarthy declined to comment on the conversation between the majority leader and Corker.

Corker and McCarthy had been feuding over the North Korean portion of the bill, which the House added when it passed the sanctions package 419-3 on Tuesday.

Corker did not want to approve the sanctions without giving the Senate a chance to make changes to the North Korean portion.

Under the deal, the Senate will pass the House’s bill, sending it to the President’s desk. In exchange, McCarthy pledged to take up future North Korean sanctions that come from the Senate.

Corker wants to add a congressional review on North Korea sanctions being eased, just as the current legislation does for Russian sanctions.

The bill, which is expected to be taken up at some point before the Senate leaves for recess, rebukes Trump by giving Congress newfound veto power over any administration attempt to remove sanctions on Moscow.

The White House pushed for changes to that provision, and Trump has not said if he will sign the bill.

The original bill, however, passed the Senate 98-2 last month, which means Congress will have a significant veto-proof majority.

Source: Agencies