WASHINGTON Senior members of the U.S. Senate called on Wednesday for the right to review any move the White House might make to ease sanctions on Russia, amid mounting concern in Congress - and among U.S. allies - that President Donald Trump will be too conciliatory toward Moscow.The lawmakers, led by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Ben Cardin, introduced "The Russia Sanctions Relief Act of 2017," modelled on a bill introduced in 2015 that let Congress review the Iran nuclear agreement signed by then-President Barack Obama.Trump's open admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and promises to rebuild frayed U.S. ties with Moscow have raised questions over his commitment to maintaining sanctions against Russia for its involvement in fighting in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.The bill announced on Wednesday would require the Trump administration to submit to Congress a description of any proposed sanctions relief, as well as certification that Moscow has stopped supporting actions to undermine the government of Ukraine and ceased cyberattacks against the U.S. government and its people.
It would give the Senate and House of Representatives 120 days to act, or decline to act, on any sanctions relief. During that period, Trump would be barred from action to ease sanctions.After 120 days, sanctions relief would be granted only if the Senate and House of Representatives had not voted for a Joint Resolution of Disapproval.
The measure is also backed by Republican Senators Marco Rubio and John McCain and Democrats Sherrod Brown and Claire McCaskill.
It was not immediately clear whether Republican congressional leaders would back the measure or how it would fare in the House, but the bill has the support of some of the leading foreign policy voices in the Senate. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Andrew Hay)
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Published Date: Feb 09, 2017 12:15 am | Updated Date: Feb 09, 2017 12:15 am