House passes bill revoking normal trade relations with Russia, Belarus

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House passes bill revoking normal trade relations with Russia, Belarus

The House of Representatives passed legislation revoking normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus on Thursday, sending the latest effort by Congress to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine to the Senate. 

The bill, which was introduced by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-Texas), easily passed by a vote of 424-8.

Eight Republicans provided the dissenting votes: Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin, Chip Roy of Texas, Dan Bishop of North Carolina and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.

The bill would give President Biden authority to increase tariffs on products from Russia and Belarus until the start of 2024 and require the US Trade Representative to seek the suspension of Russia’s participation in the World Trade Organization, as well as stop Belarus from joining the group.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on March 11, 2022. The House of Representatives passed a bill revoking normal trade status with Russia and Belarus amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on March 11, 2022.
Photo by MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

It would also provide Biden with the authority to resume normal trade relations provided both nations cease acts of aggression against Ukraine. 

Ahead of the vote, Neal and Brady said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s Wednesday address to Congress had “only strengthened our resolve to further isolate and weaken Putin.”


Get the latest updates in the Russia-Ukraine conflict with The Post’s live coverage.


“This legislation builds on last week’s energy import ban to inflict even greater economic pain on the Russian regime and its enablers,” they said in a joint statement. “We must do all we can to hold Putin accountable for senselessly attacking the Ukrainian people and undermining global stability. The suspension of normal trade relations is an essential part of our effort to restore peace, save lives, and defend democracy.”

Rep. Richard Neal Rep. Kevin Brady said in a statement that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's address to Congress strengthened our resolve to further isolate and weaken Putin.”
Reps. Richard Neal and Kevin Brady said in a statement that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s address to Congress strengthened our resolve to further isolate and weaken Putin.”
EPA/SCOTT APPLEWHITE / POOL
Sen. Chuck Schumer said that he expects the bill to pass quickly in the Senate.
Sen. Chuck Schumer said that he expects the bill to pass quickly in the Senate.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate is expected to quickly pass the legislation, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) indicated Thursday morning. 

“Both parties, Democrat and Republican, remain united in sending Putin a clear message: His inhumane violence against the Ukrainian people will come at a crippling price and today’s step by the House is another way we’re making that come true,” he said on the Senate floor. “When the House passes this bill, I expect it will have broad bipartisan support here in the Senate and I will work with my colleagues to find a way to move it through this chamber quickly.”

The passage of the legislation in the House comes a little more than a week after Biden announced a ban on Russian energy imports

The latest events in the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 17, 2022.
The latest events in the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 17, 2022.

Three days later, the president also revealed the US and G-7 nations would be revoking Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status — making it easier to apply tariffs on Russian goods that aren’t specifically banned. At the same event, Biden announced import bans on Russian alcohol, diamonds and seafood.

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