US House Approves New Russia Sanctions, Defying Donald Trump

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to slap new sanctions on Russia, and force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers’ permission before easing any sanctions on Moscow, in a rare rebuke of the Republican in the White House.

House members backed the measure, which also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea, by a near unanimous margin of 419-3, with strong support from Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, despite objections from Trump, who wanted more control over the ability to impose sanctions.

The sanctions bill coincided with lawmakers taking steps to show they are willing to push hard as they investigate possible meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion by Republican Trump’s campaign.Moscow has denied it worked to influence the election in the Republican candidate’s favor, and Trump has denied his campaign colluded.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the bill “one of the most expansive sanction packages in history.”

Ed Royce, Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the three countries threaten US interests, and said the North Korea restrictions were important given Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests.

House members added the North Korea sanctions package, which passed the House by 419-1 in May, to the Iran and Russia bill after becoming frustrated with the Senate’s failure to advance the measure.

The combined sanctions bill must pass the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. The latest version of the legislation has run into objections from some Senate members, who are unhappy that the House added new sanction on North Korea after holding up the measure for more than a month.

Senate leaders have not said when they might consider the House bill, and said that, with the Senate mired in debate over efforts to overhaul the US healthcare system, they did not know whether it would come up before lawmakers leave Washington for their summer recess.

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