House Republicans Block Russia Sanctions Bill

After recruiting Trump, the KGB and Moscow have clearly also managed to make all House Republicans their puppets, because the Senate bill that passed last week and slapped new sanctions on Russia (but really was meant to block the production on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and which Germany, Austria and France all said is a provocation by the US and would prompt retaliation) just hit a major stumbling block in the House.

At least that's our interpretation of tomorrow's CNN "hot take."

Shortly after House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas said that House leaders concluded that the legislation, S. 722, violated the origination clause of the Constitution, which requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House, and would require amendments, Democrats immediately accused the GOP of delaying tactics and "covering" for the Russian agent in the White House.

“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,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. “The Senate passed this bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-2, sending a powerful message to President Trump that he should not lift sanctions on Russia.”

And, if the House does pass it, a huge diplomatic scandal would erupt only not between the US and Russia, but Washington and its European allies who have slammed this latest intervention by the US in European affairs... a scandal which the Democrats would also promptly blame on Trump.

That said, the bill may still pass: Brady pushed back against Democrat suggestions that House GOP leadership is trying to delay the bill, stressing that he thought the Senate legislation was sound policy.

"I strongly support sanctions against Iran and Russia to hold them accountable. We were willing to work with the Senate throughout the process, but the final bill and final language violated the origination clause in the Constitution," Brady told reporters on Tuesday. "I am confident working with the Senate and Chairman [Ed] Royce that we can move this legislation forward. So at the end of the day, this isn’t a policy issue, it’s not a partisan issue, it is a Constitutional issue that we will address."

Or maybe not.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said that "the Senate bill cannot be considered in the House its current form" according to The Hill. She added that Ryan strongly supports sanctions and "we will determine the next course of action after speaking with our Senate colleagues." An aide for Sen. Bob Corker who was deeply involved in negotiating the Senate deal, said that the House has raised "concerns with one of the final provisions" of the bill.

"The House has always, in a bipartisan way, followed protocol to avoid Origination Clause violations. It's the Constitution. It's pretty straightforward," a senior GOP aide added.

And yet, despite the clear procedural issues, Democrats would just not let it go and warned that Republicans are trying to delay the bill amid pushback from the Trump administration.

As usual, Schumer lambasted the move, arguing they're using the procedural roadblock to cover for Trump, "who has been far too soft on Russia."

"Responding to Russia’s assault on our democracy should be a bipartisan issue that unites both Democrats and Republicans in the House and the Senate. The House Republicans need to pass this bill as quickly as possible," he said.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, added that Republicans could easily work around the violation by introducing an indention House bill. “[But] I predict this isn't the last excuse we'll hear for trying to slow this bill's momentum, but make no mistake, anything short of an up-or-down vote on this tough sanctions package is an attempt to let Russia off the hook," he said.

Another Democrat, Sen. Ben Cardin stressed that he didn't think the Senate bill actually had a "blue slip" issue, but echoed Engel noting they it could be "easily corrected" by using a House bill.

* * *

Under the bill which was voted 98-2 in the Senate, new Russia sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in “malicious cyber activity", perhaps like those which gave Republican Handel the victory in Georgia. It would require the administration to explain any moves to ease or lift sanctions, and create a new mechanism for Congress to review and block any such effort according to Bloomberg.

And, of course, the most controversial issue, the legislation would also put into law penalties that were imposed by the Obama administration on some Russian energy projects, a move in 2014 that came in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine. It is over this part of the legislation that America's European "allies" have threatened the US with retaliation.

The White House has said it is committed to existing sanctions and hasn’t taken a formal position on the Senate bill.


Tall Tom (not verified) Mtnrunnr Wed, 06/21/2017 - 02:03 Permalink

   Russia GDP declined by 0.2% in 2016  Who is making up facts on the fly? Can it be you? Pot. Meet Kettle. YOU FUCKING HYPOCRITE. Since they are dependent upon exporting OIL that means that Russia has expanded her production capacity in order to offset the decline in Oil Prices in 2016. Existing Sanctions are having negligible effect and you know it.

In reply to by Mtnrunnr

Relentless Tall Tom (not verified) Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:06 Permalink

Sanctions have an initial strong effect on the areas that they are targetted. The longer they are in place though, the further the country adapsts to them, changing busines practices, customers, etc. Ultimately, they result in a stronger domestic industry for the affected country. e.g. Aparteid era sanctions forced SA to develop a strong indigenous defence industry. 

In reply to by Tall Tom (not verified)

Canary Paint Truther Wed, 06/21/2017 - 08:13 Permalink

Ever seen a dog chewing on a bone until he has sort of left the world?Eyes rolled up into the back of his head with the singular pleasure of that bone?Wouldn't hear a freight train bearing down on him?Only thing he can do is snap at anyone that tries to take it away from him?I wish some miracle would happen and we would get over this "Russia did it" narrative.

In reply to by Truther

LetThemEatRand Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:50 Permalink

"She added that Ryan strongly supports sanctions and 'we will determine the next course of action after speaking with our Senate colleagues.'"Translation:  we'll pass the sanctions bill, but we need to add a provision giving another $100B to Isreal as part of it.

Stormtrooper Tue, 06/20/2017 - 22:57 Permalink

Wait!!  Congress referring to the Constitution???  Does that mean that one of them decided to read it to see if they could use it to their benefit??  Well, blow me down.  Will wonders never cease??

azusgm Tue, 06/20/2017 - 23:13 Permalink

The constitutional defect is probably the reason that the Republicans in the Senate voted for it in the first place. It scored some points with the Russia-haters while doing exactly zero that was meaningful. I had scratched my head over the way that bill passed. Now I understand.

Francis Marx Tue, 06/20/2017 - 23:44 Permalink

This sanctions thing never works. Its more a waste of time. If the Russians want anything they just get it from everyone else on the planet. Even Hillary will sell them something.

ThirdWorldDude Francis Marx Wed, 06/21/2017 - 01:03 Permalink

Who says sanctions don't work? Before the original "Russia sanctions bill" was passed, EU's trade exchange with Russia amounted to about 650 billion EUR a year, afterwards it was reduced to around 200 billion.Meanwhile, US's trade exchange with Russia 'dropped' to 75 billion EUR on a yearly basis from the pre-sanctions trade exchange levels of 30 billion EUR per year.Mission Accomplished! Do I need a /sarc tag?

In reply to by Francis Marx

FlKeysFisherman Wed, 06/21/2017 - 00:07 Permalink

After the 98-2 Senate vote Germany and France protested publicly. It was unusual to do in public and I'd say their protest played some role in our reversal.In other words the State Department had a discussion with the House.

uhland62 FlKeysFisherman Wed, 06/21/2017 - 01:30 Permalink

Nearly 20 years ago I saw a docu which ended with a projection, possible events and where that might lead. I have been searching high and low what the docu was, but could not find it any more. I hadn't been paying attention what it was called and so forth because I wasn't totally interested until the end: War - and Germany was fighting on the Russian side. As a former German I nearly fell off my chair. There is a limit as to how much you can meddle in other people's countries (Germany, France, Russia), especially when you demand more payment from them and at the same time restrict their businesses. Tillerson seems to have cast his eye on harrassing someone else today, promoting regime change in Iran. Another regime change - what could possibly go wrong.  

In reply to by FlKeysFisherman

Manipuflation Wed, 06/21/2017 - 00:15 Permalink

LOL.  I love it.  I said "hello" to my Russian mother-in-law today via skype.  She has just returned from vacation in Greece.  Indeed.  This woman goes everywhere.  She never runs out of cash.  She does whateaver she wants whenever she wants and no one fucks with her.  She bought a Lexus a couple of months ago and smashed that up already and she laughs about it.Interesting woman that Mother-in-law is.  Then you have Mrs.M who always has a roll of cash.  After having two children together and being married for 13 years she must be a SPY!.  That's the story... she was spying on me posting on ZeroHedge.  Mrs. M's father is actually Russian FSB.  Divorce in there with Mrs's M's mother many years ago.  No one is going to tell the truth on this one.  That is fine with me.    

ILIKEMITTENS Wed, 06/21/2017 - 00:42 Permalink

I assume this means they only blocked it because the "revenue" in question wasnt going to go into ((their)) pockets. I learned long ago the only reason these devils pass ANY legislation is if THEY are going to profit from it. Sheisters every one of em. That tree of liberty is looking a little parched. Plenty of "water" in the swamp though. Just need to let it flow.

KashNCarry Wed, 06/21/2017 - 01:01 Permalink

The Senators ChoiceWhile walking down the street one day a corrupt senator was tragically hit by a car and died.His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator..“Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.”“Really?, I’ve made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,” says the Senator.“I’m sorry, but we have our rules.”And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They played a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and the finest champagne.Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who is having a good time dancing and telling jokes.They are all having such a good time that before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go.Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises.The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens in heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him, “Now it’s time to visit heaven.”So, 24 hours passed with the Senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.“Well, then, you’ve spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.”The Senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: “Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.”So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.Now the doors of the elevator open and he’s in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulders.“I don’t understand,” stammers the Senator. “Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there’s just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?”The devil smiles at him and says, “Yesterday we were campaigning, Today, you voted.”