US House approves new Russia sanctions

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday to approve new sanctions on Russia

The new bill may complicate President Trump's plans to improve relations with Russia
The new bill may complicate President Trump's plans to improve relations with Russia

The US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to slap new sanctions on Russia and force President Donald Trump to obtain lawmakers' permission before easing any sanctions on Moscow, in a rare rebuke of the Republican president.

By a 419-3 vote, the House approved a bill to that would levy new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. It combines new measures targeting Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, as well as provisions intended to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and Iranian militarism.

Only three libertarian-leaning Republicans – Justin Amash of Michigan, Tom Massie of Kentucky and Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee – voted against the bill in the House.

It was unclear how quickly the bill would make its way to the White House for Trump to sign into law or veto. The bill still must be passed by the Senate, which is mired in debate over efforts to overhaul the US healthcare system as lawmakers try to clear the decks to leave Washington for their summer recess.

The sanctions bill comes as lawmakers investigate possible meddling by Russia in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion by Republican Trump's campaign.

Moscow has denied it worked to influence the election in Trump's favour, and he has denied his campaign colluded.

An earlier Senate version of the bill passed 98-2, but was only aimed at Russia and Iran. It did not include the measures against North Korea, which are now in the House bill. The latest bill must now return to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily, before it is sent to Trump.

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