Oil companies lobby against new Russia sanctions

Oil companies lobby against new Russia sanctions
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Oil giants ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron are lobbying against a new bipartisan bill that would toughen sanctions on Russia and prevent the White House from weakening them.

The companies have been contacting lawmakers with information about how the bill could “disadvantage U.S. companies compared to our non-U.S. counterparts," The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

According to the companies, the tougher sanctions could shutter U.S. business interests around the world, inadvertently aiding Russia.

“This has far-reaching impacts to a variety of companies and industries,” Jack Gerard, chief executive of the American Petroleum Institute, told the Journal.

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“It has the potential to penalize U.S. interests and advantage Russia.”

The bill, which easily passed the Senate in June with a 98-2 vote, would toughen existing sanctions and give Congress 30 days to review and potentially block the Trump administration from lifting or relaxing Russia sanctions. 

The Trump administration has been pushing House Republicans to remove the portion of the bill allowing Congress to block Trump's actions. 

In remarks in June, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged lawmakers not to tie the hands of the White House.

"I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions," Tillerson told lawmakers in June.

Lawmakers say they believe the bill, which required another Senate vote after a procedural snafu, will clear Congress after they return from the July Fourth recess.

"I am confident working with the Senate and [House Foreign Affairs Committee] Chairman [Ed] Royce [R-Calif.] that we can move this legislation forward," Rep. Kevin BradyKevin BradyOvernight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform Liberal groups want Mnuchin off GOP tax group following airplane controversies MORE (R-Texas) told reporters in June.