As the US and its allies tighten the economic grip on the Kremlin, the House passed a bill on Thursday to halt regular trade relations with Russia and Belarus.
The bill, which would empower the US to levy high taxes on Russian imports, received overwhelming bipartisan support and now advances to the Senate.
Amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, lawmakers voted 424 to 8 in favor of legislation that would boost tariffs on items from Russia and Belarus and give President Biden the ability to put even stiffer import levies on their exports. All eight Republicans who voted no on the bill are Republicans.
Based on the condition of the Ukraine war, the measure also establishes rigorous rules for when the president can resume normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus.
The Biden administration will also be compelled to lobby for Russia’s expulsion from the World Trade Organization and to oppose Belarus’s admission, which would result in increased taxes and trade obstacles for both countries.
“Today, the Congress will take another step in lockstep with many of our partners, including the Biden administration, to tighten our grasp on the Russian economy,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stated on the House floor on Thursday.
“An intensive action to further isolate Russia and devastate its economy,” she said of the bill.
The House vote comes less than a week after Biden declared that the United States and the Group of Seven countries will cut ties with Russia and Belarus. Last week, The president also ordered a ban on Russian oil imports, while U.S. partners have refused to break ties with Russia’s energy sector.
The bill to suspend trade is now on its way to the Senate. When it arrives at Biden’s desk, he is anticipated to sign it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said earlier Thursday that the Senate would immediately take up the bill.
Several Politicians supported the bill by citing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s compelling address to Congress on Wednesday, which included a heart-wrenching video depicting Russia’s damage in Ukraine.