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ONE PAGER: Despite Democratic Delays, Congress Acts to Hold Russia Accountable

April 07, 2022

Finally acting against Putin’s heartbreaking genocide in Ukraine, the House has sent legislation suspending trade relations with Russia and Belarus and banning Russian energy imports to the President’s desk.

Here’s what you need to know about both bills:

CLICK HERE for a printable version of this one-pager. 

GOP Topline

Republicans support holding Russia and Belarus accountable for their unjustified invasion of Ukraine, including ending American purchases of Russian energy products and ending preferential trade treatment of all products from both Russia and Belarus. The White House and congressional Democrats needlessly delayed passage of this tough, bipartisan legislation by adding controversial liberal priorities, that have now been removed, allowing Congress to act decisively to end the flow of funds to President Putin’s war of aggression. 

H.R. 6968 The Ending Importation of Russian Oil Act

  • This legislation bans the importation of all Russian mineral fuels and products to the United States. President Biden’s existing executive order banning oil imports provided for a 45-day phase in period, like previous House legislation.
  • Previous House legislation from earlier in March allowed the Administration to waive the import prohibition if the President certifies the waiver is in the national interest of the United States. This legislation strengthens this requirement, only allowing the President to terminate the import prohibition upon certification that Russia:
    • …has reached an agreement to withdraw Russian forces and for the cessation of military hostilities that is accepted by the free and independent government of Ukraine;
    • …poses no immediate military threat of aggression to any North Atlantic Treaty Organization member; and
    • …recognizes the right of the people of Ukraine to independently and freely choose their own government.

H.R. 7108 The Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act

  • The trade provisions of this legislation are identical to the previous House text.
    • Suspends “Permanent Normal Trade Relations” for Russia and normal trade relations for Belarus in order to cut off export revenue that can indirectly fund President Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine. This legislation carries out the Republican commitment to also increase tariffs on other imports from Russia.
    • Calls on our trading partners to take similar steps to end normal trade relations with Russia, ensuring Russia loses all benefits of World Trade Organization (WTO) membership. It would seriously undermine the value and integrity of WTO rules if we failed to take strong actions on trade to hold Russia accountable.
    • Maximizes leverage: This legislation provides incentives to end the aggression by creating offramps, with congressional oversight, to restore Russia’s and Belarus’s trade status only if the aggression ends, their behavior changes, and Ukraine’s freedom and sovereignty are secure.
  • Controversial language included in the House passed bill to expand the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to include “serious human rights abuses” has been removed and replaced with a clean permanent authorization of current law. The Magnitsky Act had been scheduled to sunset in December 2022.  

CLICK HERE for a printable version of this one-pager.