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 SchumerGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Why we need to build gateway now Campaign to draft Democratic challenger to McConnell starts raising funds 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 MnuchinOn The Money: Trump issues first veto, warning of 'reckless' resolution | US hits Russia with new sanctions | Dems renew push for contractor back pay | Lawmakers seek probe into undocumented workers at Trump businesses Deripaska sues Trump admin over Russia sanctions US announces new Russia sanctions with Canada, EU 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 PelosiHistory teaches that Nancy Pelosi is right about impeachment The politics and practicalities of impeachment The Hill's Morning Report - Dems contemplate big election and court reforms 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.