Ways and Means Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Republican Leader of the Trade Subcommittee Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), joined by all Ways and Means Republicans, today introduced the “Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act.” The legislation is a House companion to the bipartisan Senate Finance bill introduced on Monday by Senate Finance Republican Leader Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The bill provides a stronger and more effective response to Russian aggression than the legislation pushed by President Biden this week, and it reflects bill text negotiated and agreed on a bipartisan, bicameral basis before the Biden Administration leaned on House Democrats to embrace a different approach. The Brady-Smith bill:
- Stops Russia and Belarus from selling goods in the United States at the same preferential duty rates that the country they are invading—Ukraine–enjoys;
- Grants new authority to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to increase tariffs on products from Russia and Belarus;
- Blocks all imports from Russia of oil, gas, coal, and other energy products with no exceptions other than a 45-day transition period;
- Allows removal of the import ban only if the President certifies to Congress that Russia has ceased all acts of aggression, is no longer threatening any NATO allies or partners, and recognizes Ukraine’s freedom and independence;
- Calls on our trading partners to take similar actions to hold both Russia and Belarus accountable with the moral authority of having taken these actions ourselves.
Upon introduction of the legislation, Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) issued the following statement:
“Republicans and Democrats negotiated in good faith to deliver on what President Zelensky has pleaded with America and the West to do: embargo Russian oil and energy to stop this inhumane war.
“The bipartisan bill is a stronger, more comprehensive approach to holding Russia and Belarus accountable.
“While I’m pleased that House Democrats agree on the moral choice to stand with the people of Ukraine, their bill, after it was weakened at the request of the President, is not as strong as the energy ban Congress originally crafted, nor or does it include crucial Republican-led measures to revoke favorable trade relations with both Russia and Belarus, which would have targeted all the products America buys from Russia.”
Republican Leader on the Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) said:
“We should not limit our options when holding Vladimir Putin and any nation that joins his attack on Ukraine accountable for their actions. This bill is much stronger than the bill House Democrats brought to the floor, and it is the product of bipartisan and bicameral negotiations. It’s unfortunate President Biden pushed to water it down, and disappointing House Democrats obliged.
“In addition to stronger energy provisions, our bill revokes Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Russia and Normal Trade Relations for Belarus; putting them in the same trade category as North Korea and Cuba – where they belong.
“It is a proportional response, and I hope our colleagues across the aisle will rejoin our efforts in this critical moment.”
The full bill text is available here.
A summary of the bill is available here.