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The Capitol Building as seen in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016. A day ahead of a government shutdown deadline, Congress scrambled on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016, to wrap-up unfinished business, voting decisively to send President Barack Obama a defense policy bill but facing obstacles on a stopgap spending measure. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement to sanction Russia despite White House objection


Despite the Trump's administration push for warmer relations with Moscow and President Vladimir Putin, Congressional Democrats announced on Saturday that a bipartisan group of House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a sweeping package that sanctions Russia for meddling in the 2016 election as well for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. The No. 2 House Democrat, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), said lawmakers settled lingering concerns with the bill, which includes economic penalties against Iran and North Korea.

The bill's passage could come as soon as August, before Congress breaks for recess.

It's likely to cause friction with the White House, however. One of the bill's tenets would mandate a congressional bill if the 45th-commander-in-chief attempted to ease or end sanctions against Russia. If President Trump were to veto the bill, the move would likely cause outcry from both sides of the aisle, particularly since the provision was included because Republicans and Democrats are wary of Trump's affinity for Putin.

"The legislation ensures that both the majority and minority are able to exercise our oversight role over the administration's implementation of sanctions."
Rep. Steny Hoyer

The No. 2 House Democrat, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), described the legislation as "strong," adding that he expects a prompt passage.

"Given the many transgressions of Russia, and President Trump's seeming inability to deal with them, a strong sanctions bill such as the one Democrats and Republicans have just agreed to is essential," he said.

Supporting the idea of a prompt passage, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy posted a legislative schedule showing that the sanctions bill will be considered Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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