GOP leader floats including North Korea in Russia sanctions bill

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Friday he thinks the package to impose sanctions on Russia and Iran should also target North Korea.

The bill is currently stalled due to an impasse over a procedural issue flagged by House Democrats.

During a House floor exchange with Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), McCarthy called for including in the package a bill passed in the chamber earlier this year that slaps new sanctions on North Korea.

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“I believe Iran, the work that Russia has done, and what North Korea has done, it would be a very strong statement for all of America to get that sanction bill completed and done and to the president’s desk,” McCarthy said.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerLawmakers push for House floor debate on war authorization Pressure rising on GOP after Trump–DOJ fight’s latest turn Corker turns downs Trump's offer to be ambassador to Australia MORE (R-Tenn.) expressed openness to adding the North Korea sanctions to the legislative package. He noted he's discussed the idea with his House counterpart, Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.).
 
"There is no question that we need to apply more pressure to North Korea," Corker said in an email. "Chairman Royce and I have discussed the desire of some House members to add North Korea provisions to the Senate’s legislation to sanction Iran and Russia, and we would be more than glad to take a close look at it if this is the path they choose."
 
The House passed the North Korea sanctions measure by a 419-1 vote in May, targeting the country’s shipping industry and people who employ North Korean slave labor abroad.

Including North Korea in the current sanctions package would come after Pyongyang launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on the Fourth of July.

But no deal has been reached on moving the sanctions bill forward yet.

The Senate originally passed the bill by a vote of 98-2 last month. But House members said it violated the constitutional requirement that all revenue-raising measures originate in the lower chamber.

Senators then approved changes by unanimous consent two weeks ago to address the issue.

But language requested by House GOP leadership drew the ire of Democrats. That provision allows only the House majority party to force votes on disapproving of the administration’s sanctions policy.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) suggested at a news conference Friday that Democrats might drop the objection so the bill can advance.

“I want to protect the prerogatives of the minority in the House but weighing the equities, what was more important was passing the Russian-Iran sanctions bill. So we are on board to just proceed,” Pelosi said.

"The only issue would be the House Democrats’ prerogative in this, which as I said is not as important as passing the bill."

– Jordain Carney contributed 

Updated: 2:40 p.m.