More than 130 US House Republicans joined Democrats Thursday in opposing the easing of sanctions against an ally of Russia's Vladimir Putin, dealing a rebuke to President Donald Trump's administration.
But the Trump administration has been pushing Republican lawmakers hard not to support the resolution of disapproval of the decision to ease the sanctions, which were introduced by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. Eleven Republicans joined 46 Democrats to vote for cloture on the bill, but they fell three votes short of the 60 votes needed to end debate.
Democrats in both chambers have slammed the Treasury Department for its plan to lift sanctions on three companies tied to Deripaska: Rusal, the world's second-largest aluminum producer, its holding company EN+ Group and EN+ Group subsidiary JSC EuroSibEnergo.
Senate aides said Treasury staff had approached senators and staff repeatedly to argue that it was appropriate to lift the sanctions imposed in April because Deripaska had agreed to cut back his controlling stakes. Rubio, though, said that wasn't enough.
Kennedy said he appreciated Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's briefing members of the Senate GOP caucus about the administration's efforts to enforce the agreement they reached with the companies to limit Deripaska's control, but he had a hard time believing it would work.
Scott did not comment on the vote.
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"I support the administration on this because frankly the law is the law and we've got to follow the law", Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said. China's aluminium exports jumped to a record high in 2018.
The deadline for Congress to disapprove of the sanctions is Thursday.
However, European governments and American manufacturers have urged the Senate not to reimpose the sanctions, which have reportedly caused the price of aluminum to rise. He said the sanctions "shouldn't be a political issue".
Backers of the resolution of disapproval said it was too soon to ease sanctions, given Russia's continuing aggression in Ukraine, the finding by U.S. intelligence that Moscow interfered in the 2016 United States election to boost Trump, and Russia's support for the Syrian government in that country's civil war. Susan Collins of ME, one of the Republicans who voted with Democrats, said after the first vote.
Democrats also expressed concern about Deripaska's deep ties with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager convicted past year of financial crimes uncovered by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties with Russian Federation.