US Democrats Introduce New Sanctions Bill Against Iran

Huffington Post
Democratic Party chair Tom Perez was elected to shake things up but Democrats remain divided and disinterested

Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, crafted language in a Russian Federation sanctions bill approved by the Senate in June that would give Congress an opportunity to review any effort to return the properties.

The legislation always attracts hundreds of amendments because it covers a wide swath of policy, and it's the first major national security bill of the Trump administration where Democrats can use amendments to try to pin down Republicans on Trump.

Marc Short, the White House legislative director, told reporters that the administration backs the new sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran.

The legislation sailed through the Senate almost a month ago in response to Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its belligerence toward Ukraine.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is set to announce a plan Friday that will force Congressional Republicans to vote on an inquiry of President Donald Trump's administration.

House Republicans continue to argue Democrats are part of the hold up because they are trying to change language that was added in the last Senate version that restricts who can raise an objection in Congress to how Russian Federation is complying with sanctions.

"I don't like that, I want to protect the prerogatives of the minorities in the House, but weighing the equities, what was more important was passing the Russia-Iran sanctions bill", she said. The Senate GOP is facing a slim margin for passage, with a couple of lawmakers already saying they won't approve it. Trump said he'll be at his desk, "pen in hand!" to sign the bill if it passes. A White House statement said Trump and Salman discussed diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute.

House Democrats, who also voted overwhelmingly for the North Korea sanctions package this spring, could decide to attach the measure to the Russia-Iran bill.

House leaders worked with their Senate counterparts on language to fix the blue slip problem and the Senate passed the updated bill by unanimous consent.

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 Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Democrat, Maryland Sen. The resolutions automatically trigger floor votes if they don't get action in committee within 14 legislative days.

Speaker Paul Ryan and House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce have also expressed a desire to get the legislation passed.

However, another influential K Street presence - the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - is pressing for quick action on the bipartisan Iran sanctions bill to which the Russian Federation penalties are attached. We have an inside the Congress investigation by the Intelligence Committees.

An assistant United States attorney in a January court hearing in NY said the federal government had bypassed the normal visa process and granted a "type of extraordinary permission" so that her client could be in the be deposed in a Justice Department lawsuit involving a Russian investment firm.