The U.S. Senate has moved forward with a resolution opposing President Donald Trump’s administration for a plan to ease sanctions on Russian companies tied to billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
A total of 11 Republican senators joined all Democrats in the January 15 vote, which clears the way for formal debate followed by a final vote on the resolution.
The resolution is in response to last month’s announcement by the Treasury Department that it would lift sanctions on the core businesses of Deripaska, a powerful Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin.
The companies includes aluminum giant Rusal, its parent company En+, and power firm EuroSibEnergo.
Earlier on January 15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin traveled to Congress in an effort push Republicans to oppose the Democratic-backed resolution.
If the resolution passes the Senate in the final vote, it would then go to the House of Representatives, where Democrats are in control. It would then go to the White House, where a Trump veto was likely.
Were it to pass all those steps, however, the resolution would block the Treasury move.
Ahead of the vote, the top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, urged the resolution’s passage, saying: "This is not the moment to give up a source of leverage over the Russian government."
Republicans control the 100-member Senate 53-47.