Democrats and 11 Republicans in the Senate are working together to prevent the Treasury Department from lifting the sanctions placed on three Russian companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, who has ties to Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s administration hopes to ease the sanctions placed on EuroSibEnergo, EN+ and Rusal, all of which are linked to Deripaska. Steven Mnuchin, head of the Treasury Secretary, contends the sanctions are no longer required as the companies divorced Deripaska from their operations.

On Tuesday, the bill obtained a 57-42 vote, short of the 60 required to advance. Republicans were split between supporting President Donald Trump and challenging Russia. Some GOP members, such as Jim Risch (R-Idaho) claimed this is a disingenuous act being done “to embarrass the president.” Fellow Republican John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), meanwhile, said he “can’t in good conscience vote to lift sanctions on Deripaska.”


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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, speaking during Tuesday’s procedural, hoped the Senate would band together. “We’re only two Republican votes short of the U.S. Senate telling Putin he can’t run the show no matter what President Trump and his administration try to do,” he said. “It is deeply suspect that the Trump administration would propose sanctions relief for Deripaska’s companies before the special counsel finished his work. We should not allow any sanctions relief for President Putin’s trusted agents or the companies they control before the conclusion of the investigation.”

A second conference regarding the bill was held on Wednesday, where Republicans successfully blocked Democrats’ efforts to retain the sanctions. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has brought forth a parallel resolution that will be considered by the House on Thursday, the final day for invoking congressional review regarding the sanctions.

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