Florida’s two Republican U.S. Senators split Wednesday on whether to block President Donald Trump’s plan to lift sanctions against a Russian oligarch described in reports as an ally of Vladimir Putin.
Sen. Marco Rubio joined 10 Republicans to break rank and vote with Democrats to reject the Trump administration’s proposal to ease sanctions on the companies of Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.
However, the effort fell three Senators short of the 60 needed to end debate and hold a vote on the resolution. Newly minted Sen. Rick Scott joined a majority of his GOP colleagues to block the vote.
The U.S. sanctioned Deripaska and other Russians in 2018 for “attempts to subvert Western democracy.”
According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration said it was easing sanctions on Deripaska because he had agreed to reduce his stake in a Russian aluminum company. Rubio, though, said that wasn’t enough.
“Deripaska loses stock, but not control,” Rubio said.
Scott’s office said Democrats were trying to score “political points by attacking the administration” during the shutdown.
“Russia is not our friend. Putin is not our friend. We don’t trust them,” Scott spokesman Chris Hartline said. “But the Treasury Department is implementing the law. If there are issues with the law, Congress should fix it.”