WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the upper chamber is unlikely to take up a bipartisan Russia sanctions bill prior to the November midterm elections.
“The chances of sandwiching that in, honestly — in the month of September with all the other items we have swirling around — are probably pretty slim,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said in response to a question at a news conference on Tuesday.
However, McConnell said that he is “personally very interested in a Russia sanctions bill” and that such a measure would be “high on the list of consideration for floor time.”
Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced the Deter Act in January. Under the legislation new sanctions against Russia would be implemented if the director of National Intelligence (DNI) determines within the 30-day period following an election that Moscow or agents of Kremlin attempted to interfere in the electoral process. White House approval is not required for the sanctions go into effect.
Controversy over the the July Helsinki summit between President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin has led to renewed interest in the legislation.
The Senate in September will consider the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh and must work with the lower chamber to come up with a plan to keep the government funded beyond Sep. 30.
Both chambers are scheduled to spend a significant portion of October on the the campaign trail.