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Brady: Congress Can and Must Do More to Hold Russia Accountable

March 10, 2022

While urging Congress to do more to hold Russia accountable for its unjustified invasion of Ukraine, Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) opened debate on the House Floor supporting the ban on Russian energy imports.

CLICK HERE to watch Rep. Brady’s opening remarks.

Earlier today, Reps. Brady and Republican Leader of the Trade Subcommittee Adrian Smith (R-NE) were joined by all Ways and Means Republicans in introducing the “Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act.” 

Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.

While missiles and machine guns rain down death on innocent Ukrainians, President Zelensky is pleading with America and all free nations to stop buying Russian oil to fund this inhumane war. 

This weekend, Americans should know both parties in Congress came together in agreement to immediately ban purchases of Russian energy.  

I was proud to have helped lead that bipartisan effort of the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance committees — and pleased that President Biden, who fought the Russian energy ban tooth and nail, finally relented, and accepted the moral choice to stand with the people of Ukraine. 

The bill before us is certainly not as strong an energy ban as what Congress crafted. 

Nor does it include Congress’s crucial economic sanctions to revoke favorable trade relations with Russia and Belarus – which would have targeted all the products America buys from Russia. 

But President Biden insisted that these economic sanctions be dropped, so that nearly half of all Russian imports to the U.S. will go untouched. 

For some reason he is insisting we treat Russia, the invader, the same as Ukraine – the invaded. 

It’s puzzling why Russian diamonds and vodka deserve continued special treatment here in America. Those revenues all help strengthen Russia’s economy to fund the war against Ukraine. But President Biden insisted, and regrettably in this bill, they remain protected.   

Our allies will certainly get a laugh. This bill directs our trade representative to urge other nations to revoke the special trading status for Russia even though America refuses to do it at this time. 

That’s not a profile in courage.   

I wish President Biden was as committed to crippling economic sanctions as neighboring Canada – which banned both Russian oil and revoked the special trading treatment for Russian products.   

But to be clear, neither the President’s executive ban nor this bill takes any action to replace Russian oil with “Made-in-America” energy.  

Nothing in this bill includes Republican-led proposals to extend secondary sanctions on Russian energy purchases and financing around the world – as we already impose on Iran and North Korea.

Nothing in this bill creates access to more American-made energy on or off-shore.

Nor does it approve American pipelines that could easily replace Russian oil with U.S. and Canadian energy. Or accelerate approval for delayed permits for American export facilities to help the rest of the world wean themselves from the grip of dirty Russian energy. 

Answer this question: Why is our country begging Venezuela and Iran – terrorist nations and thug regimes – to produce more dirty oil to send to America, when America is fully capable of producing all the cleanest oil and gas in the world that we need right here at home? 

As expected, President Biden is blaming everyone and everything for high gas prices and inflation – including the war. 

But higher prices, as you know, have hammered Americans for a solid year – all starting with Biden’s $2 trillion unpaid for “COVID stimulus” that ignited inflation, paid people not to work, and fueled the worst inflation in 40 years. 

Thanks to the White House, America is in a dangerous wage-price spiral, and as a result of the President’s failed economic leadership, more and more experts are predicting a recession this year.  

No wonder most Americans believe our economy is already in a recession or a depression, and have lost faith in President Biden’s ability to rebuild our economy. 

To close, I will tell you this, the ban on Russian oil alone is worth our support.

Ukraine is waiting, as Chairman Neal points out. 

But after this bill, I urge Congress to do more, to revoke Russia’s special trade status and unleash America’s own ability to be energy independent, to replace Russian oil with American sources, and use our energy strengths to wean the world from Russian energy.