Democrats Failed to Block the Lifting of Sanction on Russian Companies
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On Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 11 GOP senators broke rank with their Republican leadership and sided with Democrats in a showdown over sanctions on Russia. These Republican senators voted with Democrats in seeking to have sanctions in place on companies controlled by the Russian oligarch Oleg V. Deripaska, who has connections to Russian President Vladimir V. Putin. The Republican senators who voted with Democrats were John Boozman of Arkansas; Susan Collins of Maine; Tom Cotton of Arkansas; Steve Daines of Montana; Cory Gardner of Colorado; Josh Hawley of Missouri; John Kennedy of Louisiana; Martha McSally of Arizona; Jerry Moran of Kansas; Marco Rubio of Florida; and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.The vote forced Republicans to choose between GOP’s traditional foreign policy of tougher line on Russia vs. Mr. Trump’s warmer stance toward Russia leading to question about Moscow’s role in helping Trump during 2016 presidential election.
These 11 GOP senators voted to allow Senate Democrats to advance a measure to reverse a decision last month by the Treasury Department to lift sanctions that it imposed last year on companies controlled by Oleg V. Deripaska, including the aluminum giant Rusal. The Treasury Department’s decision would leave in place personal sanctions on Mr. Deripaska and require him to reduce his ownership stake in each of the companies (United Co. Rusal and two linked companies, EN+ Group plc, and JSC EuroSibEnergo.) to below 50%. Democrats urged the Treasury Department to postpone the final decision on sanctions relief for Mr. Deripaska’s companies until after Mr. Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation concludes.
Under a provision in a 2017 law that allows Congress to override certain sanctions related decisions by the Treasury Department, both the House and Senate would need to pass resolutions by a Thursday deadline to block the administration’s move to lift the sanctions. The Democratic party’s congressional leaders began pushing resolutions in the Senate and the House this week to override the sanctions relief. Failing the congressional action, the sanctions would automatically be lifted.
Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, voted with Democrats and has long been among party’s leading critic of Russia. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat from New York, missed the vote since she was announcing her first step to start a campaign for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
Previously, the House voted 362 to 53 to block the Treasury Department from lifting sanctions against Russian companies controlled by Mr. Deripastka. With the Senate vote of 57-42, enough votes on Tuesday(more than 51) to advance the measure but three votes short of the 60 vote threshold on Wednesday to keep the legislation alive, 60 needed to advance the measure, the sanction against Mr. Deripaska-controlled companies will be lifted as part of a deal negotiated by the Treasury Department to reduce Mr. Deripaska’s ownership and control of the aluminum giant Rusal and two linked companies. Sanctions against Mr. Deripaska personally remain in force and would not have been affected by the Treasury Department decision or the Senate measure.
Rachel Maddow reports on Mitch McConnell rallying enough Republicans to prevent Senate Democrats from blocking the Trump administration from easing some Russia sanctions related to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, in the video “Republicans Overcame Der Objections To Easing Russia Sanctions, Rachel Maddow, MSNBC“, below:
CNN’s Anderson Cooper looks at President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s relationship after Senate Republicans blocked a Democratic effort to keep sanctions on companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, in the video “Cooper: What’s going on with Trump, Russia is something“, below:
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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