Bid to keep U.S. sanctions on Russia's Rusal fails in Senate

Senate rejects resolution to block President Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia

At issue is a December announcement from the Treasury Department that the USA would lift sanctions on the companies linked to Deripaska -Russian aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal, EN+ Group and the Russian power company JSC EuroSibEnergo.

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic effort to keep sanctions on companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, ending what was the most aggressive congressional pushback so far on the Trump administration's foreign policy toward Russia. The House will likely vote on a similar resolution Thursday, but it will be purely symbolic following the Senate's action Wednesday.

Treasury said it plans to lift the company sanctions because Deripaska agreed to reduce his ownership of the companies below 50 percent.

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.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to reporters after giving a classified briefing to members of the House of Representatives about Treasury plan to lift sanctions from companies controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Democrats' attempt to undermine President Trump's decisions on Russian Federation sanctions went down to defeat in the Senate on Wednesday as they weren't able to win over enough Republicans to overcome a GOP filibuster. The procedural vote to move forward on the resolution failed 57-42, just three votes short of the 60 needed to proceed.

Mnuchin had lobbied GOP senators to vote against Schumer's resolution.

But now, Schumer said, "it seems that acquiescence to [President Donald Trump], a fear of breaking with the president, has held back too many of my Republican colleagues from supporting this resolution". China's aluminium exports jumped to a record high in 2018.

As a result, the United States' European allies urged the Treasury to reverse its course on the sanctions.

Congress had until Friday to vote to block the sanctions relief. He said the sanctions "shouldn't be a political issue".

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.

Schumer, in comments on the Senate floor, questioned why more Republicans weren't willing to support the resolution, given their decades-long rhetoric about standing up toward Russian Federation and Putin.

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