Trump Declares Congress to Blame for Russian Ill Will

WASHINGTON (CN) – The day after signing a bill strengthening sanctions against Russia, President Donald Trump on Thursday took to Twitter to declare the United States’ relationship with Russia has never been worse and the blame for that rests on Congress.

“Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!”

The tweet is similar to criticisms he lobbed at Congress in a statement after he signed the sanctions package yesterday, when he said Congress had stepped on the executive’s foreign policy powers even though it “could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking.”

The bill, which the Senate passed last week, codifies sanctions the Obama administration put in place against Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election and prevents the president from revoking the sanctions unilaterally. In a signing statement attached to the bill, Trump said he was concerned about what the law would do to his foreign policy deal-making but that he was signing it “for the sake of national unity.”

Trump’s relationship with the Republican-controlled Congress has publically appeared strained recently, especially after the dramatic failure of the party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration threatened Alaska’s “future with the administration” to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, after her vote against bringing the health care bill to the Senate floor, the Alaska Dispatch News reported last week.

Trump tweeted shortly after the bill failed last week encouraging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lower the number of votes required to overcome a filibuster of legislation. Trump said the threshold, currently at 60 votes, could prevent some of his priorities from getting a chance in the Senate.

But McConnell has consistently pushed back against the idea and at a press conference on Tuesday reminded reporters that it was the failure to win Republican votes that doomed the health care push.

“There are not the votes in the Senate, as I’ve said repeatedly to the president and to all of you, to change the rules of the Senate,” McConnell said. “It would require 50 or 51 Republicans to agree to do that. The votes are simply not there.”

But the next policy fight to hit the Senate will likely not require leadership to whip up 60 votes. Republicans plan to move to a tax reform package in September when the House returns from August recess, and are looking to use the reconciliation process to advance the bill.

Reconciliation, which Republicans attempted to use to pass the health care legislation, only requires a simple majority to bring to the floor and therefore if Republicans remain relatively united on the issue they would be able to overcome any filibuster even without a change to the rules.

%d bloggers like this: