The White House indicated Sunday President Donald 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, reports The Washington Post.
Lawmakers are scheduled to consider the sanctions package as early as Tuesday, and the bill could be sent to Trump before Congress breaks for the August recess. The bill also calls for sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
"The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told ABC News. “The original piece of legislation was poorly written but we were able to work with the House and Senate. And the administration is happy with the ability to do that and make those changes that were necessary. And we support where the legislation is now."
The legislation may also have long-term consequences for the American relationship with Russia and for the power of the presidency. Once sanctions are written into law, they are much harder to lift, even long after the circumstances prompting them have changed, which is one reason European allies opposed the bill. And presidents from both parties have long resisted Congress’s inserting itself into the process of determining foreign policy through mandatory sanctions.The broad-based nature of the sanctions is causing urgent concern amongst EU members.
The Financial Times reports:
Brussels is preparing to retaliate against the US if Washington pushes ahead with far-reaching new sanctions on Russia that hit European companies.Trade improves relationships between countries, limitations on trade tend to increase hostilities. Although, they are likely doing so only because of crony regional pressures.the EU is on the right side of the issue in objecting to the sanctions (though not so by considering retaliatorial trade actions).
Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, has called for an urgent review of how Brussels should respond if Europe’s energy companies or other businesses are targeted by sanctions under discussion in the US Congress.
According to a note prepared for a commission meeting on Wednesday, and seen by the Financial Times, Brussels “should stand ready to act within days” if the US measures were “adopted without EU concerns being taken into account”...
The note says that Brussels’ “primary focus” should be on seeking “a public or written reassurance” from the Trump administration that it will not apply the new sanctions in a way that targets EU interests.
Other options set out in the EU commission note include using European law to prevent the US measures from being “recognised or enforceable” in Europe, and preparing “WTO-compliant retaliatory measures”.
The moves reflect deep concerns that the measures could hit European energy companies involved in Russia-related projects, including those engaged in the Nord Stream 2 initiative to build additional undersea natural gas pipelines between Russia and Germany...
Brussels is set to argue that the potential economic fallout for Europe from the planned US sanctions stretches far beyond that one project, warning that they could hit the “maintenance and upgrade” of pipelines in Russia that feed gas into Ukraine, as well as pipeline projects in the Caspian region and the development of a gasfield off the coast of Egypt.
In addition, the note warns, “the measures could impact a potentially large number of European companies doing legitimate business under EU measures with Russian entities in the railways, financial, shipping or mining sectors, among others.”