Brown: Congress Needs Veto Power Over Trump On Lifting Russian Sanctions

Feb 8, 2017

Sen. Sherrod Brown has signed on to bipartisan legislation that would give Congress power to stop President Trump from any attempt to lift sanctions against Russia.

The Trump administration has suggested it might consider lifting the sanctions, which were put in place over Russia's annexation of Crimea, its invasion of eastern Ukraine and its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

In a teleconference with Ohio reporters Wednesday, Brown said Congress must put the Trump administration on notice.

"We're sending today a clear bipartisan message to President Trump that we should strengthen, not weaken, Russian sanctions; and that Congress, on behalf of the American people, must have a say on Russian policy,'' Brown said.

The principle sponsors of the bill are Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland. Republican John McCain of Arizona and Democrat Claire McCaskill have also signed on.

Brown said he believes they can build broad bipartisan support for the legislation.

"Lifting sanctions now would simply reward Russia's attempts to undermine democracy, from Crimea and eastern Ukraine to the meddling in our own U.S. elections,'' Brown said.

"The president talks about America first, but his talk on sanctions sounds, to a lot of us in both parties, more like Russia first,'' Brown said.

Ohio's junior senator, Republican Rob Portman, has separately warned the president against lifting sanctions, and signed onto a different bill that would impose additional sanctions. Brown says he would be willing to work with Portman and other senators on combining the bills.

Brown said he and Portman "agree on this issue. My bill locks in existing sanctions so President Trump can't act unilaterally. Sen. Portman's bill calls for a list of new sanctions."