US Senate Upholds Lifting Sanctions on Russian's Companies
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jan 18, 2019,
Jan 18, 2019, 1:29
The House issued a symbolic rebuke to the Trump administration on Russian Federation, overwhelmingly passing a resolution against lifting sanctions on companies tied to oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin ally.
Bill Browder, a British-American businessman whose company Hermitage Capital Management was seized by the Russian state, argues that Thursday's vote is a sign that "the American people don't want to give Putin any gifts".
"Treasury sanctioned these companies due to their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves".
But the Trump administration has been pushing Republican lawmakers hard not to support the resolution of disapproval of the decision to ease the sanctions, which were introduced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
Earlier Wednesday, senators failed to reach the 60 votes required to advance the measure, ending with a final vote tally of 57-42.
The deadline for Congress to disapprove of the sanctions is Thursday. These companies have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska's ownership and sever his control.
Under a 2017 sanctions law, Congress has 30 days to review the lifting of sanctions.
Democrats' attempt to undermine President Trump's decisions on Russian Federation sanctions went down to defeat in the Senate on Wednesday as they weren't able to win over enough Republicans to overcome a GOP filibuster.
Democrats had been optimistic they would get 60 votes on Wednesday, after 11 Republicans made the unusual break from Trump policies and supported the resolution in procedural voting on Tuesday.
"It sends the wrong message to Russian Federation and to the oligarch - a close ally of Mr. Putin, Oleg Deripaska - who will in my judgment continue to maintain considerable control under the Treasury's plan", Sen.
"Congress can not just look the other way when the administration rushes a decision like this", said House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel.
His three companies, Rusal, EN+, and ESE, had been lobbying ever since to be removed from the sanctions list.
Deripaska, an influential businessman close to Putin, himself would remain subject to USA sanctions. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left the classified briefing for House members declaring it "one of the worst" briefings she'd been to in the Trump administration.
Democrat Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the bipartisan result sent a strong message to the Trump administration which he said was "trying to make an end run around Congress on an issue as important as Russian Federation sanctions".