GOP senator blocked sanctions on China over HK -- at request of White House

The episode, which had not been previously reported, underscores the uphill battle for Congress’ China hawks as they push the Trump administration to punish Beijing over an array of issues, from Hong Kong to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Even for us, this is dysfunctional,” Cramer acknowledged on Wednesday, a week after he objected to the bill’s unanimous passage on the Senate floor, after a last-minute plea from the Trump administration.

According to Cramer, the White House and State Department proposed a series of “technical” corrections to the bill only a half-hour before Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) was set to ask for unanimous consent to pass his bill, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act. Cramer defended his decision to block the legislation, saying he hopes the bill eventually passes but that he wanted to try to “accommodate” the Trump administration’s concerns.