President Donald Trump has indicated a desire to work more closely with Russia following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit last week, and stricter sanctions wouldn't bolster that position.
The bill codified existing sanctions against Russian Federation, while stepping up punitive measures over its interference in Syria, Ukraine and the 2016 USA election; it also increases sanctions against Iran for a series of recent ballistic missile tests.
"I don't even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad", Trump said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.
"While Putin and President Trump meet privately, the American people are left to ask why Republicans are more concerned with Russia's interests than the integrity of our democracy", she said.
The upshot is that Trump, still eager for a big win on Capitol Hill, may face a hard choice instead: Sign the sanctions bill into law and possibly scuttle his bid for a new partnership with Russian Federation or veto the legislation, set off an outcry and risk having that decision overturned by Congress.
Earlier this week, Democrats objected that House Republicans were trying to prevent the minority from ever bringing up a resolution under the bill to block Trump from making changes to sanctions policy, absent Republican approval.
However, there was no sign of support from Trump's fellow Republicans, who control majorities in both the House and the Senate and control what legislation comes up for a vote.
Two days later, the Senate approved the bill slapping sanctions on Russian Federation and Iran. "We could have fixed it in five minutes", Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters. On Thursday, they said they thought it could advance soon but on Friday said the North Korea issue made that less likely. "House Republicans, as I understand it, said fix it however way you wish, we weren't intending for you not to have that ability".
"Just like the revelations that came up today, we need to have more oversight and more answers coming from the Trump administration in terms of their relationship with Russian Federation, not less -- and this is a good opportunity", Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat with several amendments pending, told CNN.
The U.S. energy industry has been lobbying against the bill and some Republican House members, particularly from oil-producing states, have said they might want changes.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, has also said he'd like to hear from Trump Jr and said the panel has requested documents from him.
There's also another issue lingering over the bill in the House that could lead to changes to the measure. "They're going to go through that process and they're going to have to answer for these emails and the investigation will take its course".
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