The White House indicated Sunday President Trump would sign a sweeping Russia sanctions measure, which the House could take up this week, that requires him to get Congress’ permission before lifting or easing the economic penalties against Moscow.
The House of Representatives plans to pass a compromise bill Tuesday that toughens sanctions on Russia for its alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election — and makes it harder for President Trump to ease them.
The vote follows a bipartisan agreement reached over the weekend between House and Senate negotiators and comes amid growing scrutiny by Congress and a special prosecutor of possible links between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.
Trump had objected to the bill’s limits on his ability to lift or ease the sanctions. The Senate passed an earlier version of the bill 98-2.
“This demonstrates that despite the president’s intentions, American policy toward an aggressive Kremlin is becoming stronger,” said John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Uzbekistan, two former Soviet republics.
Here are a few things to know about the bill:
What it does
The bill will punish Russia for meddling in the U.S. presidential elections and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria. Russia has not done enough to implement a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists are fighting government troops, according to the State Department.
The bill will codify sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama over Russia’s alleged interference in the presidential election to aid Trump. That is the firm conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community, but Trump complains that the allegation is not backed up by evidence and is being promoted by critics to discredit his election.
The sanctions, which primarily target Russian oil and gas projects with companies based in the U.S., Germany and other countries, will be harder for Trump to lift because he’ll need congressional approval.
White House reaction
The White House lobbied Congress to kill or soften the bill, especially the mandate requiring a congressional review if the president attempts to ease or end the sanctions. But those efforts had “zero influence,” said Herbst, who’s now an analyst at the Atlantic Council think tank. The reason: “All the…