Politics

Senate Solves The ‘Constitutional’ Issue With Iran, Russia Sanctions Bill

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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The Senate has rewritten a few lines of a sanctions bill against Iran and Russia after the House refused to consider it over a “Constitutional” violation.

Democrats are convinced the House was stalling in order to buy time to soften the sanctions against Russia, but Republican leadership downplayed those concerns.

“The Senate has now transmitted to the House of Representatives the technical changes requested,” Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker said in a statement Thursday. After speaking with House Speaker Paul Ryan, Corker is “hopeful the legislation will be considered in an appropriate and timely manner.”

The House objected to a small portion of the bill that violated what’s known as the Constitution’s origination clause, which states legislation on U.S. revenue must be introduced first in the House.

Democratic senators were dubious that the technical matter was the real reason the House refused to take up the sanctions bill, which imposes harsher sanctions on Russia. Some even suggested that the House would try to obstruct the bill, which passed the Senate nearly unanimously 98 – 2, in order to protect President Donald Trump from having to sign a bill against Russia.

“I’m sure there are people that are working against it, and I’m sure the president will work against it, so we have hurdles,” Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said. “I think there’s a pretty strong majority in the House that wants to keep the bill basically as we sent it over,” Cardin said.

The bill would increase sanctions on Iran for its buildup of ballistic missiles, and on Russia for its attempts to meddle in the U.S. election. New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer says the GOP House is stalling to cover for a president who favors Russia.

“I want to put the House on notice: If they water-down this bill, weaken the sanctions, add loopholes to the legislation, they will find stiff resistance here in the Senate,” Schumer said when the House initially objected to the bill.

“House Republicans are considering using a procedural excuse to hide what they’re really doing: covering for a president who has been far too soft on Russia,” Schumer said.

Ryan is in favor of the tougher actions, as long as the bill doesn’t have a revenue provision, according to his aides.

“The speaker has been a strong proponent of sanctions and believes we need to do more to hold Iran and Russia accountable,” AshLee Strong, press secretary for Ryan, told the Washington Examiner last week.

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