A key sticking point for Democrats is a proposed technical change to the bill made late last month by the Senate that Democratic aides said Monday would prevent rank-and-file House members from being able to challenge a president's decision to lift or ease the sanctions against Russian Federation.
The addition of the House's North Korean sanctions bill would be yet another twist for the Senate's legislation that includes both Russian Federation and Iranian sanctions, which passed 98-2 one month ago. Rand Paul of Kentucky, opposed the bill, which also slaps Tehran with new sanctions.
US intelligence agencies have accused the Russian government of meddling through hacking in last year's election to benefit Trump and harm Clinton, and authorities are exploring potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign. A disapproval resolution would be used by lawmakers to object if President Donald Trump were to ease sanctions on Russian Federation or other countries covered under the measure. They sent a letter to the department of state the week before more meetings with Russian officials. "He could legitimately go to Vladimir Putin and say, 'I'm going to sign this, because it doesn't matter if I do or if I don't, and if I don't sign it I'll be hammered, it will be a huge embarrassment, ' so I don't see how he doesn't sign it".
Just as Republican leaders feared, sending senators home for the July 4th recess without having voted on the Republican health care bill did nothing to improve the image of the controversial legislation now pending in the Senate.
Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, called for Congress to "act definitively and immediately" on the sanctions legislation following Tuesday's disclosures by Donald Trump Jr.
House Democrats have promised to step up their oversight of Trump's possible connections with Russian Federation by using other floor procedures. "That's missing from this debate and that's very unfortunate, both on the Democrats and the Republicans".
Corker told reporters Monday that it's not unusual for a White House to resist oversight of foreign policy.
The dearth of constructive input for an important piece of legislation may stem from the failure to properly staff the State and Treasury departments, the federal agencies primarily responsible for administering sanctions programs.
"We want to give collaboration and cooperation a chance", said Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump. "That has never occurred", he said.
The bill is also opposed by the powerful American Petroleum Institute, which represents USA oil companies.
The bill also puts in place secondary sanctions that would impact countries that buy Russian military equipment, which has been a central way the Russian government has monetized its military.
Grassley wouldn't say what he wants to hear from Donald Trump Jr., but said members aren't restricted "from asking anything they want to ask".
The National Foreign Trade Council, a business group, has also objected to the expanded energy sanctions, saying they would prevent US oil companies from competing in mot export markets while rivals in China and Europe would not be equally constrained.
House armed services committee Chairman Mac Thornberry argued that amendments dealing with Trump's business interests did not belong in the defense policy bill. "It's called opposition research, or even research into your opponent", Trump said. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.