Kevin McCarthy says he plans to add North Korea to Russia sanctions

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Story highlights

  • Kevin McCarthy told CNN, 'I think North Korea sanctions should be added' to sanctions bill
  • The bill that passed the Senate 98-2 focused on Russia and Iran

(CNN)House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNN Monday he plans to combine a House-passed North Korean sanctions bill to the Senate's Russia sanctions legislation when the chamber takes up the measure.

McCarthy did not say when the House would bring up the sanctions bill, but said he wants to combine the House's North Korean sanctions with new sanctions against Russia and Iran, which the Senate paired together when it passed its sanctions bill 98-2 last month.
"I think North Korea sanctions should be added to it," McCarthy said. "North Korea sanctions came out of here with only one dissenting vote, more so than the other (bill). I think it does a very good narrative for the three that we're doing."
    McCarthy first raised the possibility of adding North Korea to the Russia sanctions bill on Friday. But Democrats say the idea of tacking on North Korean sanctions is just the latest Republican stalling tactic on behalf of the White House. Doing so would force the Senate to pass the measure for a third time — and consider North Korea sanctions it has not taken up yet.
    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    The White House objects to a provision in the Senate's sanctions bill that gives Congress veto power over any effort to ease sanctions against Russia.
    After the Senate first passed the Russia sanctions bill last month, House Republicans said the bill has a "blue slip" constitutional problem that revenue generating measures must begin in the House.
    The Senate passed a new version of the bill to address those concerns, but another tweak in that measure raised protests from House Democrats, who said they were stripped of the ability to force a vote to disapprove of changes to Russia sanctions.
    McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer were had an animated conversation on the floor during House votes Monday evening. Democrats have said they are not on board with the idea of adding the North Korean piece, but are still likely to vote for the package because both bills are overwhelmingly bipartisan.
    The House passed its North Korean sanctions bill 419-1 in May. The Senate hasn't acted on it, however.
    Senate foreign relations committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said it's the House's prerogative to add North Korea to the sanctions bill, but he was concerned about getting it back on the Senate floor.
    "Honestly, taking up North Korea is fine with me," Corker said. "I've talked with (House foreign affairs committee) Chairman (Ed) Royce about it on several occasions. The only thing that would be a little troubling is floor time — if we have to revisit it on the floor with all we have to do."