Congress Could Delay New Sanctions against Russia until January: Report

The United States Congress is not expected to pass legislation ordering new U.S. sanctions on Russia before the end of the year, as lawmakers focus instead on government spending measures, judicial nominations and a farm bill, Bloomberg reports citing key senators.

Over the summer, a bipartisan group of senators moved swiftly to assemble new proposals for Russia sanctions following President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. But as Congress enters the so-called lame duck period before newly elected lawmakers take office in January, time is running short for action on the bills, the report says.

“We don’t have very much time,” John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a real race, unless everyone wants to stay here for Christmas.”

Lawmakers were considering new sanctions legislation a little more than a year after the Republican-controlled Congress passed an aggressive measure that forced the Treasury Department to target wealthy people close to Putin — so-called oligarchs. Trump, who has sought a warmer relationship with Putin, grudgingly signed it into law rather than face a possible override of his veto.

Senator Bob Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat who has been involved in talks on the sanctions legislation, also said Congress appeared to have no time left to pursue legislation this year.