Democrats Renew Efforts To Link Banks, Trump And Russia

Pauline Gross
July 15, 2017

As President Donald Trump's administration struggles with an escalating investigation over charges his campaign colluded with Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign, bipartisan sanctions legislation slapping new restrictions on Russia's government remains stalled on Capitol Hill.

"I'm a Russian Federation hawk".

Ways & Means committee member Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., said he has counted more than 20 GOP members who have told their constituents that they think the president should release his tax returns - words that Pascrell argued mean nothing if they are not willing to vote to force the issue.

This week, Trump has been defending his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., who met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign after he was told she might have damaging information about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Multiple procedural issues between the House and Senate have stalled the bill in the House, prompting Democrats to accuse House Republican leaders of trying to delay the bill at the White House's urging.

By contrast, the Senate bill would allow any individual senator, of either party, to call for such a vote in that chamber.

House Republicans are considering combining a North Korean sanctions bill with the Senate's Russian Federation sanctions legislation, an idea that drew sharp criticism from Democrats. Trump administration officials have been up on Capitol Hill lobbying against the measure.

"It's an idea, and obviously I don't find it unappetizing", Royce said.

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"House Democrats are not going to let the Republicans off the hook for their complicity in this", Pelosi said.

The Senate quickly approved a revised version of the bill, but House Democrats objected to having their power curtailed.

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.

Check out their full address to the House in the clip above.

But AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, criticized the move by House Democrats to introduce a new bill, telling CNN: "While they haven't shared the bill text with us, we assume it will not include the House procedure fix the Senate unanimously passed". That means it would take time for the Senate - mired in its health care fight - to consider a new North Korean sanctions measure added to the Russian Federation sanctions bill. "This is a smokescreen to a bill that needs to get done now".

Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel, said the Senate was unaware that the technical changes that were requested by the House changed the ability of members to force a vote on the House floor.

Other reports by GizPress

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