Schumer to force vote on Trump administration move to ease sanctions on Russian firms

Schumer to force vote on Trump administration move to ease sanctions on Russian firms
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCardi B expresses solidarity with federal workers not getting paid Government shutdown impasse is a leveraging crisis Overnight Health Care: Dem chair meets Trump health chief on drug prices | Trump officials sued over new Kentucky Medicaid work rules | Democrats vow to lift ban on federal funds for abortions MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that he will force a vote on a resolution to disapprove of the Trump administration's decision to relax sanctions on companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, calling the move "wrongheaded."

Schumer will force the vote under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which requires a simple majority to proceed to the resolution to disapprove. The announcement comes days after Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinIRS waiving penalty for some in first filing season under Trump's tax law Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MIT removed Russian oligarch from board following sanctions from Treasury Department MORE briefed House lawmakers on the decision to ease sanctions.

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“After consultation with the relevant committee ranking members and my colleagues, I have concluded that the Treasury Department’s proposal is flawed and fails to sufficiently limit Oleg Deripaska’s control and influence of these companies, and the Senate should move to block this misguided effort by the Trump Administration and keep these sanctions in place,” Schumer said in a statement.

House Democrats called for Mnuchin to testify last week after the Treasury Department announced it was lifting sanctions on Deripaska, a billionaire aluminum magnate with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The administration announced plans to relax sanctions on the three businesses tied to Deripaska — Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo. Deripaska will remain sanctioned and his property blocked, however.

Democrats were critical of Mnuchin's briefing, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiOvernight Health Care: Dem chair plans hearing on Medicare for all | Senate GOP talks drug prices with Trump health chief | PhRMA CEO hopeful Trump reverses course on controversial pricing proposal Centrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter On The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (D-Calif.) calling it a waste of time.

The decision to ease sanctions on Deripaska comes amid strained relations between the U.S. and Russia, and as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE continues his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.