Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions

Source: The Hill | January 16, 2019 | Jordain Carney

The Senate on Wednesday narrowly rejected a Democratic-led effort to block President Trump from lifting sanctions against three Russian businesses.

Senators voted 57-42 to end debate on the resolution, falling short of the 60 votes needed. If all Democrats supported the measure, they needed to win over 13 GOP senators.

GOP Sens. John Boozman (Ark.), Susan Collins (Maine), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Steve Daines (Mont.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), John Kennedy (La.), Martha McSally (Ariz.), Jerry Moran (Kan.), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ben Sasse (Neb.) voted to end debate on the resolution and advance it to a final vote.

The Trump administration announced plans late last month to relax sanctions on three businesses — Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo — connected to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Under the 2017 sanctions bill, Democrats are able to force a vote on a resolution to block the administration from lifting the financial penalties.

Wednesday’s vote hands the Trump administration a win after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was dispatched to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to squash the resolution.

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