The White House is in a race that could cause serious waves for President Trump if they don’t stop Congress from sending a Russia sanctions bill to the POTUS. The bill would restrict the President from any talks with Putin. Not only does this debilitate the President, but would cause a massive political embarrassment for the Trump administration.
The administration is currently trying to convince Republican members that “the sanctions bill they rushed through the Senate on a 97-2 vote needs waivers to give Trump the flexibility to negotiate with Putin.”
The Trump administration believes that if they can stall the bill long enough, they will have a better opportunity to convince lawmakers that the bill is bad for diplomacy and companies in the United States. Companies specifically in the energy field will be punished for doing international business with Russia which the Trump administration thinks is wrong.
Marc Short heads up the White House legislative affairs team who are currently tasked to amend the bill. Short states the following regarding the bill:
“We support the sanctions on Iran and Russia; however, this bill is so poorly written that neither Republican nor Democratic administrations would be comfortable with the current draft because it greatly hampers the executive branch’s diplomatic efforts.”
Companies like Exxon and Boeing have concerns with the bill’s disadvantages, and their opinions have been noticed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Foreign Affairs Committee chair, Ed Royce. Ryan and Royce hope to see the bill passed fast, but do take these companies thoughts into consideration.
While Ryan is against the White House on this bill, GOP leadership isn’t entirely together on this move. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and the Senate’s John Cornyn are both open to the White House’s suggestion to hold off the bill for a revision.
If the bill does make it to the President’s desk, he will face a difficult choice. If he signs the bill, he will forfeit any future cooperative relationship with Putin and Russia. If Trump chooses to veto the bill, he is risking the possibility that the Congress will receive a two-thirds majority and override his choice. “He can’t veto Russia sanctions. Are you f—ing kidding me? Your first veto of the administration is to protect Russia,” says an administration official via Axios.