Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions

 
Senators voted 57-42 to end debate on the resolution, falling short of the 60 votes needed. If all Democrats supported the measure, they needed to win over 13 GOP senators. 
 
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GOP Sens. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanVA chief pressed on efforts to prevent veteran suicides McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal There is a severe physician shortage and it will only worsen MORE (Ark.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Health Care: Insurance lobby chief calls Biden, Sanders health plans 'similarly bad' | Trump officials appeal drug price disclosure ruling | Study finds 1 in 7 people ration diabetes medicine due to cost Collins downplays 2020 threat: 'Confident' reelection would go well if she runs Cook Political Report moves Susan Collins Senate race to 'toss up' MORE (Maine), Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonGOP senator says he suggested Greenland purchase to Trump, met with Danish ambassador It's time to empower military families with education freedom Cotton warns China: Crackdown on Hong Kong would be 'grave miscalculation' MORE (Ark.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesThe 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal 5 takeaways from combative Democratic debate GOP senator introduces resolution to formally condemn socialism MORE (Mont.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump touts new immigration policy, backtracks on tax cuts Hickenlooper announces Senate bid Poll: Trump trails three Democrats by 10 points in Colorado MORE (Colo.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHillicon Valley: Facebook releases audit on bias claims | Audit fails to calm critics | Federal agencies hit with fewer cyberattacks in 2018 | Huawei founder says company faces 'live or die' moment Facebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE (Mo.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid The Hill's Morning Report - Trump searches for backstops amid recession worries MORE (Ariz.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranSenators introduce bill aimed at protecting Olympic athletes in response to abuse scandals Overnight Defense: Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sales | Two US troops killed in Afghanistan | Senators tee up nominations, budget deal ahead of recess Senate fails to override Trump veto on Saudi arms sale MORE (Kan.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads What the gun safety debate says about Washington Trump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China MORE (Fla.) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseIt's time to empower military families with education freedom Bipartisan panel to issue recommendations for defending US against cyberattacks early next year The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lauds tariffs on China while backtracking from more MORE (Neb.) voted to end debate on the resolution and advance it to a final vote.
 
The Trump administration announced plans late last month to relax sanctions on the three businesses — Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo — connected to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 
Under the 2017 sanctions bill, Democrats are able to force a vote on a resolution to block the administration from lifting the financial penalties.
 
Wednesday's vote hands the Trump administration a win after Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTrump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Democrats push judge for quick action on Trump tax returns lawsuit Five key players in Trump's trade battles MORE was dispatched to Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to squash the resolution.
 
He met with House Democrats last week and Senate Republicans on Tuesday to make the case that the sanctions against the three companies should be lifted because Deripaska’s ownership in the entities has fallen below 50 percent.
 
Mnuchin failed to sway enough senators to stop the resolution during an initial vote on Tuesday, where only a simple majority was needed. With Democrats holding 47 seats they had to win over at least four GOP senators on the first vote.
 
GOP senators who backed the resolution say they were unconvinced that Deripaska wouldn't maintain considerable sway over the companies under the Treasury Department's plan. 
 
"For all intents and purposes between his shares, the independent shares that the Russian state-owned bank control and various other individual shareholders, I still think he retains operational control," Rubio told reporters ahead of the initial vote. "So they’re going to have to do better.”
 
Kennedy added afterward that he voted to advance the resolution "because the principal involved is a gangster."
 
But Tuesday's 57-42 vote still left Democrats a few votes shy of being able to defeat the expected filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (D-N.Y.) urged Republicans to support the resolution to block the sanctions from being lifted if they believe that Putin is a "thug." 
 
"I'd like to make a direct appeal to my Republican friends who are wondering about this. … Do you believe America should take a tough line on Putin or do you think we should go easy on Putin and his cronies? From where I'm standing that's an easy choice," Schumer said. 
 
The vote in the Senate means that the Trump administration will be able to lift the Russia sanctions.
 
Though House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.) said this week that he would introduce a resolution in that chamber to block the financial penalties from being nixed, both chambers would need to pass a resolution of disapproval by Thursday in order to block the administration from lifting sanctions.

House Democrats have asked for an extension from the Treasury Department, but Mnuchin declined to discuss the issue with reporters.
 
The Russia sanctions resolution is the first piece of legislation the Senate has debated since the start of the 116th Congress. Democrats have blocked a separate GOP foreign policy bill three times, arguing lawmakers should be focused on ending the partial government shutdown. 
 
Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster Hickenlooper announces Senate bid Trump orders elimination of student loan debt for thousands of disabled veterans MORE (R-Ky.) knocked Democrats on Wednesday accusing them of trying to blow up an agreement negotiated by the Trump administration in order to "make a political splash." 
 
"Political obstruction is their top priority. Everything else follows from that," McConnell said.