Ahead of Trump-Putin Meeting, Shea-Porter Calls For Vote on Russia Sanctions
ROCHESTER, NH — Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today urged House Republican leadership to schedule a vote on Russia sanctions for next week, when Congress returns from recess, to send a strong message ahead of tomorrow’s meeting between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. A bipartisan sanctions bill passed the Senate 21 days ago by an overwhelming vote of 98-2, but has faced obstruction and delays in the House.
Shea-Porter wrote: “This legislation is a necessary response to Russia’s escalating and dangerous aggression in Europe and around the world, and will help hold Russia accountable for its brazen attack on our elections. Russia’s increasingly disruptive foreign policy cannot go unchallenged. With President Trump meeting Putin tomorrow, Congress should send a clear message to the Russian Government by immediately scheduling a vote on the sanctions bill for early next week when Congress returns from recess.”
On June 15, the Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and to require Congressional approval to lift existing sanctions. Since Senate passage, House Republicans have delayed consideration of the bill by posing procedural hurdles. These issues should have been fixed quickly, but instead dragged out over two weeks of bicameral negotiations that drew criticism from Senate Republican leaders. House Republican leadership can resolve the procedural hurdle with a simple action, but has yet to announce plans to do so and to move forward by scheduling a vote. This delay has given the Trump Administration and Big Oil time to organize against the bill in an attempt to weaken it.
The full text of Shea-Porter’s letter:
Dear Speaker Ryan, Chairman Brady, and Chairman Royce:
I write to ask that you move to immediately resolve the procedural issue that is currently delaying House consideration of the critical Senate-passed Russia sanctions bill and schedule a vote on the bill for when we return from recess. Our national security demands a strong US response to Russia’s aggression and interference in our elections, and this bill achieves that goal. You have delayed this legislation, stating that an easily fixable procedural issue, which would not substantively change the bill, is the cause of the delay. While House action is needed as soon as possible to fix the procedural issue, you have yet to announce a timeline to move forward and pass this bill.
This sanctions bill is a necessary response to Russia’s escalating and dangerous aggression in Europe and around the world, and will help hold Russia accountable for its brazen attack on our elections. Russia’s increasingly disruptive foreign policy cannot go unchallenged. With President Trump meeting Putin tomorrow, Congress should send a clear message to the Russian Government by immediately scheduling a vote on the sanctions bill for when Congress returns from recess. The bill targets Russia’s energy, mining, and railroad sectors, and imposes sanctions on Russian individuals who commit human rights abuses, illegally sell arms and weapons, or engage in malicious cyber warfare. It also requires the President to seek congressional approval before weakening existing sanctions against Russia, which he could currently do with the stroke of a pen. Further delay in passage of this legislation will harm our national security and display weakened US resolve on this critical issue.
On June 15th, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the sanctions legislation, 98-2. As you know, Chairman Brady objected to swift House passage of the Senate bill because a portion of the bill impacts tax revenues, which under the Constitution means that the bill should have been passed first in the House. It took House and Senate negotiators nearly three weeks to negotiate a simple change in the bill to fix the problem. Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Corker even said that negotiations with the House had reached “a point of total silliness.” Last week, the Senate started the process of implementing the negotiated fix, but there is still no clear timeline for the House to take the necessary action to complete the fix and then vote on the bill.
Russia will not stop its attacks on our democracy if we do not act. This legislation will serve as a much needed deterrent against future assaults on our democracy. The ongoing delay makes it appear as if House leadership is using a procedural issue as a pretext to delay passage of this critical legislation, or to weaken it. It is unwise for House leadership to continue to further delay or weaken the sanctions.
In closing, I urge you to schedule a vote on the Russia sanctions bill immediately, without further delay or substantive changes.
Member of Congress