WASHINGTON (AP) – The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a law Wednesday night banning Russian oil imports to the United States in a bid to impose restrictions imposed by President Joe Biden in response to the escalation. war in Ukraine.
Goes further than Biden imposed a ban on imports of Russian oilthe bill, which passes through Congress, will also encourage a review of Russia’s status in the World Trade Organization and signal U.S. support for sanctions against Russian officials for human rights abuses as the U.S. works to economically isolate the regime.
Lawmakers on both sides were willing to act, willing to risk rising gas prices at home to support Ukraine by demonstrating US bipartisanship. The bill was passed Wednesday, 414-17, and is now going to the Senate.
A spokesman for Lloyd Doggett, Texas, who helped draft the bill, acknowledged that refueling parties at home could cost more to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin tanks abroad.
“This is one way to demonstrate our solidarity,” Doget said during the debate.
The great two-party determination in Congress to restrain Russia and help Ukraine acted as an accelerator in the White House’s own strategy, pushing the Biden administration to move faster than it could – a rare example of a legislature making its way into foreign policy. .
Just a few days ago there was a Biden administration reluctant to ban imports of Russian oilConcerned about declining global energy supplies and causing spikes in gas prices at a time when U.S. households are already facing record inflation.
“We have been talking for some time about the introduction of a Russian (energy) ban, and we are very pleased that the president has done so,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi before the vote.
While Russian oil accounts for only a small portion of U.S. imports, it carries a high price for lawmakers in Congress who viewed the ban as a moral test in blocking an economic lifeline for the Putin regime. Lawmakers of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky are especially excited “Desperate request” for help during a video call with lawmakers over the weekend.
“We speak together with the people of Ukraine, both Democrats and Republicans,” said Lloyd Smacker, R-Pa.
Republican Party leader Kevin McCarthy said Republicans would have preferred a tougher bill against Russia, as well as efforts to allow more energy production in the United States. However, they would like to express their support.
“Our conference overwhelmingly does not want Russian oil; we want American oil, ”McCarthy said.
The leader of the Republican Party distanced himself from the views of former President Donald Trump that Putin is a “genius” for his strategy on Ukraine.
“I do not think anything smart or ingenious about Putin. I think Putin is evil. He is a dictator, ”McCarthy said.
Action occurs when Congress is on the path to approval nearly $ 14 billion in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, a package that increases in size as the war escalates. More than 2 million Ukrainians fled the country as a result of the fastest since World War II.
The legislation is largely symbolic, as Biden has already announced a ban on Russian oil. But the legislative push sets off a further showdown over Russia’s trade status when Congress insists on restricting other imports from Russia, which the administration has so far resisted.
The White House intervened over the weekend as key lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate drafted a more punitive bill that would deprive Russia of its permanent normal trade status, a move that would open the door to tariffs on other goods coming from Russia. USA
Amid opposition objections, Democratic leaders in Congress postponed the new bill rather than seeking a confrontation with their party president.
Instead, new legislation approved by the House of Representatives does not allow Russia’s normal trade status to be suspended. Rather, it calls for a reconsideration of Russia’s status in the World Trade Organization. The House of Representatives bill also says that Magnitsky’s global law on responsibility for human rights should be strengthened to allow the president to impose sanctions on any foreigner who “directly or indirectly participated in serious human rights violations.”
Democrats in Congress are switching between advancing their priorities and allowing the Biden administration to work with allies in Europe and beyond to end Putin’s war.
However, senators are still seeking to curb Russian trade by restricting U.S. imports, and Republican senators may try to amend the bill as soon as it is submitted to the Senate for discussion, probably next week. The two-party bill, in its original form, would suspend normal trade relations with Russia, as well as with Belarus, Russia’s neighboring ally, which was used as a starting point for the invasion of northern Ukraine.