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US lawmakers reach deal on Russia sanctions, creating limits for Trump

  • Published at 01:15 am July 24th, 2017
US lawmakers reach deal on Russia sanctions, creating limits for Trump
US Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on legislation that allows new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, leading congressional Democrats said on Saturday, in a bill that would limit any potential effort by President Donald Trump to try to lift sanctions against Moscow. The Countering Iran’s Destabilising Activities Act, which was passed by the Senate a month ago, was held up in the House of Representatives after Republicans proposed including North Korea sanctions in the bill. The House is set to vote on Tuesday on a package of bills on sanctions covering Russia, Iran and North Korea, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office. The measure will “hold them accountable for their dangerous actions,” McCarthy said in a statement Saturday. Under the proposed bill, Trump must submit to Congress a report on proposed actions that would “significantly alter” US foreign policy in connection with Russia, including easing sanctions or returning diplomatic properties in Maryland and New York that former President Barack Obama ordered vacated in December. Congress would have at least 30 days to hold hearings and then vote to uphold or reject Trump’s proposed changes. Many lawmakers hope the bill will send a message to Trump to keep a strong line against Russia. Trump, who met Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg earlier this month and said it was an “honour” to meet him, has been criticised for seeking to reset US-Russian relations. His administration has been bogged down by ongoing investigations of possible ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia. With the bill, Republicans and Democrats are seeking to punish Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea, a peninsula belong to Ukraine, and for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.