Russia sanctions deal taking shape without changes Trump sought

Negotiators in both parties are nearing final approval of a sweeping sanctions deal that does not include changes the White House sought to make it easier for President Donald Trump to ease penalties against Russia, congressional sources said Friday.

The imminent accord on a package of sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea could get released publicly as soon as Friday night, according to House and Senate aides. To resolve a partisan clash over giving House Democrats the power to force a vote blocking Trump from easing sanctions on Moscow, the deal allows any anti-Trump vote to get privileged consideration in the House provided that it passes the Senate, a source told POLITICO.

The sanctions legislation could pass the House as soon as next week and the Senate soon clear it soon after, providing the Republican-led Congress with a major bipartisan achievement to tout amid struggles on health care and taxes — albeit an achievement that delivers a thumb in the eye to Trump.

The White House had pressed to dilute the bill’s provisions empowering Congress to block Trump from easing or ending sanctions against Russia, but its request fell on deaf ears from Republican leaders.

The pending sanctions deal would make a technical change to the portion of the bill by ensuring that Congress would not review minor and routine licenses for businesses seeking to operate in partnership with Russian entities, according to one GOP source.

Rachael Bade contributed to this report.

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