Deal on Russia, Iran sanctions clears path for House vote

World leaders including President Trump lower left and Vladimir Putin upper right attend a banquet at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg Germany

Sources: Congress close to deal on Russia sanctions

"Given the many transgressions of Russian Federation, 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.

In addition to imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation, the legislation allows lawmakers to vote to block the Trump administration from making changes to sanctions policy.

The Trump administration pushed for weakening the provisions in the bill giving Congress veto power if the administration eased Russian Federation sanctions, but that provision is included in the agreement with just a clarifying change.

But the Senate's version, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in a 98-2 vote, would also establish a newl review process that would allow Congress to block Mr Trump if he tries to ease sanctions on Moscow. Taking a tough anti-Russia - and anti-Trump - stance on relations with Moscow is insurance for Republicans in case Mueller produces a real bombshell and the party needs to protect itself from the resulting political toxic spill. The roadblock arose as Trump administration officials stepped up a lobbying campaign against the bill, prompting Democrats to accuse House GOP leaders of stalling on Trump's behalf.

The sanctions targeting Russian Federation, however, have drawn the most attention because of Trump's persistent push for warmer relations with President Vladimir Putin, despite US findings by USA intelligence agencies of Kremlin interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. The sanctions review was included in the bill because of wariness among lawmakers from both parties over Trump's affinity for Putin...

The apparent agreement to fix procedural concerns, add sanctions against North Korea, and modify provisions that would restrict the participation of USA energy companies in some global projects, clears the way for a House vote next week.

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

Hoyer said the bill would "ensure that both the Majority and Minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the Administration's implementation of sanctions". Negotiators further added North Korea sanctions to the package in the latest version of the bill. But Republicans rejected the complaint and blamed Democrats for holding the bill up.

For now, though, there's no question that the bill will pass with veto-proof majorities. That measure reflected Republican complaints that Obama had overstepped the power of the presidency and needed to be checked by Congress.

After passing in the Senate, the legislation appeared to stall in the House of Representatives, worrying some Republicans that the White House's efforts to water down the legislation were working and could make the USA seem soft on Russian Federation.

The new sanctions package in the agreed-to legislation would impose mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic-missile program and any person or entity that does business with them.

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