The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to maintain sanctions on three companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, protesting the Treasury Department’s decision to lift the financial penalties.
The 362-53 vote was symbolic, as the Senate already had defeated a resolution to overrule the Treasury Department and keep the sanctions in place. Democratic senators on Wednesday narrowly failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward despite 11 Republicans voting with them.
At issue is a December announcement from the Treasury Department that the U.S. would lift sanctions on the companies linked to Deripaska –Russian aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal, EN+ Group and the Russian power company JSC EuroSibEnergo. EN+ Group is a holding company that owns nearly 50 percent of Rusal.
Congress had until Friday to vote to block the sanctions relief. The Treasury Department says the Russian companies have committed to separating from Deripaska, who will remain blacklisted as part of an array of measures announced in early April that targeted tycoons close to the Kremlin.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin briefed House members on the decision last week and Senate Republicans on Tuesday, all behind closed doors. Speaking after the Senate meeting, he said the sanctions “shouldn’t be a political issue.”