Democrats And Republicans Unite On Russia Sanctions Legislation

U.S. Congress has come to an agreement on sanctions against Russia. This was announced on Saturday paving the way for a law which will give authority to Congress on actions that the president of the United States might take on these sanctions. Representative Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, made the announcement on Saturday.

“…the legislation ensures that both the Majority and Minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the Administration’s implementation of sanctions,” said Hoyer.

Report submission

The bipartisan deal coincides with rumors that President Donald Trump was weighing the rolling back of the sanctions that had been imposed by the previous administration of Barack Obama. With the bipartisan bill the president would have to submit a report to Congress on any proposed action likely to ease sanctions already imposed on Russia.

In a tweet, Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, said that the deal was proof that countries which threaten the interests of the United States would not get away with it. The bipartisan bill is a retaliatory measure against Russia following its actions of annexing Crimea as well as the alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election.

Iran provision

Besides Russia the bipartisan legislation will also target Iran. According to the statement issued by Hoyer, the legislation will hold Iran responsible for any destabilizing action it may involve itself in anywhere in the world.

Prior to the bipartisan deal, reports had indicated that there was concern among oil firms that the legislation would prevent oil companies from the United States from drilling alongside companies originating from Russia. According to the reports, among the organizations lobbying against provisions in the bill which were likely to harm American oil producers was American Petroleum Institute.

U.S. firms in Russia

Currently there are thousands of U.S. firms which have operations in Russia and this includes oil companies such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Others include Apple, Coca Cola and McDonald’s. Data from the International Trade Administration housed by Commerce Department of the United States, trade volumes between Russia and the U.S. amounted to $20 billion last year. In 2015 U.S. firms invested approximately $9 billion in Russia. Although the sanctions are meant as a punishment to Russia, they can also end up affecting American business organizations.

The bipartisan legislation will get to the floor of the house this week for a vote before it is presented to the president for his signature. On Sunday the White House indicated that the president was not opposed to signing the legislation.

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