View of the Kremlin. Photo: Wikipedia

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would give congress the power to veto any move by the president to lift sanctions on Russia.

The move comes after Trump expressed hope to improve relations with Russia during his campaign, and as he reportedly considers returning diplomatic  compounds that had been seized by the Obama administration last year. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing 419-3.

“This strong oversight is necessary. It is appropriate. After all, it is Congress that the Constitution empowers to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) was quoted by the Hill as saying.

Lawmakers in Russia were less pleased. Chaiman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament Konstantin Kosachyov was quoted as saying on Facebook after the passage of the bill that hope “is dying.” He urged that Russia should prepare a response to the sanctions that’s “painful for the Americans.”

Deputy chairman of the international affairs committee, Vladimir Dzhabarov said that economic and political measures have already been prepared and will be adopted should the US Senate and Trump support the House bill, Bloomberg reported, citing RIA Novosti news service. US-Russia relations “are at such a low level that we have nothing to lose.”

Trump is a “prisoner of Congress and anti-Russian hysteria,” senator in Russia’s upper house of parliament, Alexei Pushkov said. These sanctions are “a new stage of confrontation.”