Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions

The Senate on Wednesday narrowly rejected a Democratic-led effort to block President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says he is unaware of reported federal investigation Louisiana's Democratic governor forced into runoff Lawmakers focus their ire on NBA, not China MORE from lifting sanctions against three Russian businesses.
 
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 CollinsMcConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows Congress set for showdown with Trump over Kurds Trump seeks to distance himself from Turkish invasion of Syria MORE (Maine), Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonBipartisan senators want federal plan for sharing more info on supply chain threats On The Money: Fed officials saw rising risk of recession | Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz blast NBA for 'outrageous' response to China | Prospects dim for trade breakthrough with China Ocasio-Cortez, Ted Cruz join colleagues blasting NBA for 'outrageous' response to China MORE (Ark.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesFallout from Kavanaugh confirmation felt in Washington one year later Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal MORE (Mont.), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerMcConnell tightlipped as impeachment furor grows Gardner dodges questions about Trump's call for Biden probe Hickenlooper raises .1 million in first five weeks of Senate campaign MORE (Colo.), Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games Hillicon Valley: Senate Intel report urges action to prevent 2020 Russian meddling | Republicans warn Microsoft of 'urgent' Huawei threat | Court rules FBI surveillance violated Americans' rights GOP senators warn Microsoft of 'urgent' threat from Huawei MORE (Mo.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Planned Parenthood charges into 2020 | PhRMA CEO warns against Pelosi drug pricing bill | Medicaid work requirements costing states millions Planned Parenthood issues first wave of 2020 House, Senate endorsements McSally says Senate taking 'serious look' at Trump call unlike 'partisan' House MORE (Ariz.), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranMcConnell signaling Trump trial to be quick, if it happens Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Furor over White House readout of Ukraine call | Dems seize on memo in impeachment push | Senate votes to end Trump emergency | Congress gets briefing on Iran Senate again votes to end Trump emergency declaration on border wall MORE (Kan.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFive ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Rubio hits Warren's 'crude' and 'vulgar' response to opposition to same-sex marriage Trump puts election-year politics at center of impeachment case MORE (Fla.) and Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseSenators take fundraising efforts to Nats playoff games On The Money: Fed officials saw rising risk of recession | Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz blast NBA for 'outrageous' response to China | Prospects dim for trade breakthrough with China Ocasio-Cortez, Ted Cruz join colleagues blasting NBA for 'outrageous' response to China 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.
 
 
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 SchumerTrump defends 'crime buster' Giuliani amid reported probe Louisiana voters head to the polls in governor's race as Trump urges GOP support Trump urges Louisiana voters to back GOP in governor's race then 'enjoy the game' 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 HoyerHillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference Overnight Health Care — Presented by Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing — Judge blocks Trump 'public charge' rule | Appeals court skeptical of Trump arguments for Medicaid work requirements | CDC offers guidance for treating vaping-related cases House to vote this month on legislation to combat foreign interference in elections 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. 
 
 
"Political obstruction is their top priority. Everything else follows from that," McConnell said.