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Congress has voted to suspend Russia’s trade status and ban oil

WASHINGTON – Congress voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to end normal trade relations with Russia and ban the import of its oil, reinforcing the US response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid reports of atrocities.

The action came after the Senate approved the two bills with 100-0 votes. The measures are now going to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

Lawmakers strongly support the essence of the two bills, but they have spent weeks in the Senate while lawmakers worked to come up with the final details.

Biden has already taken executive action to ban Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal for the United States. Legislation puts effort into law.

The bill to end normal trade relations with Russia paves the way for Biden to impose higher tariffs on various imported goods, such as some steel and aluminum products, further weakening the Russian economy under President Vladimir Putin. It also ensures that Belarus receives less favorable tariff treatment.

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Representative Richard Neal, D-Mass., Said innocent Ukrainians were killed even at a meeting of deputies.

“We have no time to lose and we must punish Vladimir Putin immediately,” Neil said. “What we have witnessed in Bucha only in the last 72 hours more than justifies the positions we have taken in the past and to be more assertive and aggressive in the future.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., announced late Wednesday a breakthrough in talks to pass bills before lawmakers return to their home states and congressional districts in two weeks. Some lawmakers said failing to take final action on the bills was sending the wrong message to allies and Russia.

“I wish this could have happened earlier, but after weeks of talks with the other side, it is important that we find a way forward,” Sumer said.

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Sumer said that the images coming out of Ukraine while the war was going on “are pure, pure evil. Hundreds of civilians killed in cold blood. “

“No nation whose army commits war crimes deserves free trade status with the United States,” Sumer said moments before the vote.

Although there was strong support for stopping preferential trade treatment for Russia, Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky. , leaving it ripe for abuse. Several other Republicans have expressed similar concerns.

Schumer chose to leave the senators behind the scenes in a language that lawmakers from both parties and the White House could adopt instead of chewing time to overcome fraud.

Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md., Said, in effect, the impact of the delay on the trade account is minimal, “because there is currently virtually no trade that comes from Russia.” However, he said the adoption of the bill was important.

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“Messages are important here, and showing action is important,” Cardin said. “You have the Ukrainians on the battlefield every day. The least we can do is pass these bills. “

The bill also gives the president the power to restore normal tariff treatment for Russia, as well as to resume trade in Russian energy products under certain conditions.

While Russian oil accounts for only a small portion of U.S. imports, it carries a high price for lawmakers in Congress who see the ban as a moral test of blocking an economic bailout for the Putin regime.

The White House says sanctions that the United States and more than 30 other countries have already imposed have hit the Russian economy. It says experts now predict that Russia’s GDP will shrink by up to 15% this year and that inflation is already rising above 15%. More than 600 private sector companies have already left the market.

“Russia is likely to lose its status as a major economy and continue its long descent into economic, financial and technological isolation,” the White House said in a statement.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Congress has voted to suspend Russia’s trade status and ban oil

Source link Congress has voted to suspend Russia’s trade status and ban oil

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