US House decisively votes to approve new sanctions against Russia
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday to approve new sanctions on Russia, setting up a potential showdown with the White House.By a 419-3 vote, the House approved a bill to that would levy new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. It combines new measures targeting Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, as well as provisions intended to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and Iranian militarism.
Only three libertarian-leaning Republicans – Justin Amash of Michigan, Tom Massie of Kentucky and Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee – voted against the bill in the House.
The bill had been bogged down in controversy in recent weeks over objections from the Trump administration. The White House has been opposed to a provision in the bill that requires congressional approval for any attempt by the president to lift the sanctions on Russia.
An earlier Senate version of the bill passed 98-2, but was only aimed at Russia and Iran. It did not include the measures against North Korea, which are now in the House bill. The latest bill must now return to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily, before it is sent to Trump.
Despite the White House’s opposition to the bill, it is likely to become law. Even if Trump decides to veto the legislation, it has already passed both chambers by veto-proof margins.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “while the President supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the President’s desk.”
The legislation passed the House the same day Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, spoke to the House intelligence committee about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Russian interference in the 2016 election is the subject of multiple investigations – including one by special counsel Robert Mueller – as well as committees on Capitol Hill, and questions have been raised in particular about allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The White House has vigorously denied the suggestion that there was any collusion and has repeatedly called the investigations into Russia’s role in the election “a witch hunt.”