UPDATE 3-U.S. Democrats in new bid to push Russia and Iran sanctions bill

(Updates with comments from Ryan, Hoyer, details of bill)

WASHINGTON, July 12 (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Wednesday they planned to introduce a new version of a Russia and Iran sanctions bill, hoping to send a message to President Donald Trump to maintain a strong line against Moscow.

Seeking to force Republican House leaders to allow a vote, Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said they would introduce legislation unchanged from what passed the Senate by 98-2 on June 15, but has been stalled ever since.

"It's identical to the Senate-passed bill," a Democratic committee aide said, but since it will be labeled as House legislation it would avoid a procedural issue that prompted House Republican leaders to send the measure back to the Senate.

Democrats accused House Republicans of stalling the bill to weaken it after the Trump administration expressed concern about provisions setting up a process for Congress to approve any Trump effort to ease sanctions on Moscow.

Trump's fellow Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate, but have a much larger majority in the House.

Trump's attempts to mend relations with Russia have been hindered by allegations that Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and colluded with Trump's campaign. Russia denies meddling and Trump says there was no collusion.

Emails released on Tuesday showed that Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, eagerly agreed last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Lawmakers and aides said news of that meeting, and the failure to disclose it, added new urgency to the push to pass the Russia package.


AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the Democrats' latest approach would require a new vote in the Senate, which could mean further delay.

"This is grandstanding and not a serious effort to resolve this issue and hold Russia accountable," she said.

House Republican leaders said they had not taken up the original Senate bill because it violated a constitutional requirement that all legislation affecting government revenues originate in the House. Democrats scoffed, saying the problem could have been quickly remedied by re-labeling the legislation as a House bill and passing that.

The Senate changed the bill to address that issue, and passed it by unanimous consent. But the Senate also changed it in a way that Democrats said weakened a provision requiring Congress to approve any Trump effort to ease sanctions on Russia.

Passing the new bill the Democrats announced Wednesday would eliminate that change.

Steny Hoyer, the number two House Democrat, said the change meant that, while any senator, including Democrats, could call up a resolution of disapproval of easing sanctions, the same would not be true in the House.

"I don't believe that having the president's party in a position to protect him from any oversight is good policy for our country," Hoyer told reporters.

Ryan told a press conference he wants to move a strong bill regarding sanctions on Russia as quickly as possible but that the legislation still faced procedural and policy hurdles.

The U.S. energy industry has been lobbying against the bill and some Republican House members, particularly from energy-producing states, have said they might want changes.

The Russia sanctions legislation was written as an amendment to a bill imposing new sanctions on Iran over issues including its ballistic missile program. Besides establishing the review process, it puts into law sanctions previously imposed on Moscow via presidential executive order and introduces new sanctions. (Additional reporting by Amanda Becker and Susan Heavey; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and James Dalgleish)