Congress Finally Takes Action Against Putin’s Heartbreaking Genocide
Thursday, I delivered remarks on the House floor in support of the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act and the Ending Importation of Russian Oil Act.
Details on the bills are here.
CLICK HERE to watch my remarks on suspending normal trade relations with Russia.
The Senate has finally taken action and now we can move forward on our bill to answer President Zelensky’s passionate plea to the United States and all free nations to stand with the brave people of Ukraine against Putin’s deadly ambitions and heartbreaking genocide.
Putin’s onslaught has been relentless. Beautiful town squares have been leveled, families and children killed. The bill we send to the President today will stop American dollars from funding Russia’s bloodletting.
Today, Mr. Speaker, we are leading, and I thank Chairman Neal for his great leadership and his work on this bipartisan provision to suspend Russia’s special trade status.
I was proud to have helped lead this bipartisan effort of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees.
Both parties in Congress came together, worked in good faith on a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to immediately ban purchases of Russian energy and suspend our trading relationship with Russia and Belarus.
We don’t take these steps lightly, but Russia’s aggression requires this approach.
Russia will no longer enjoy the same special trade status with America as the country it is invading, so that it will no longer be able to sell Made-in-Russia products into the United States at lower tariffs.
Combined with the energy import ban, which targets 60 percent of what Russia sells us, this provision targets the remaining 40 percent, hurting Russia’s economy and cutting off funding for its war effort.
Said another way: American dollars will no longer fund Russia’s war machine.
This is another step in the right direction and includes further incentives for Russia to end its aggression.
This bill includes tough but clear conditions to be met for restoring Russia’s trade status, the same conditions we are requiring to reverse the ban on Russian energy products.
Going forward, we must continue to work closely with our allies to increase pressure on Russia and ensure this is an effective, global effort.
Neighboring Canada has also taken serious action to do both of these, and other nations have announced their intentions to do the same.
Finally, I am glad this bill no longer includes controversial changes to the Global Magnitsky Act sanctions authority, instead, this bill merely includes a straight extension of the current Global Magnitsky authority.
I am thankful that the Senate shared my concerns, and removed that provision.
With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
On the import ban on Russian oil:
CLICK HERE to watch my remarks on banning the importation of Russian oil.
I join with Chairman Neal urging the House to take the final legislative step to ending the flow of American dollars towards Russian oil that acts as a treasury for Russia’s war machine.
Soon, President Biden will have on his desk a bill that demonstrates we stand with the people of Ukraine.
As Chairman Neal pointed out, the Ukrainian people have been waiting. The action we take today is long overdue, but just as necessary.
Since we first debated this bill, the horror of Putin’s war in Ukraine has been on display for the world to see.
Today, we will make sure American dollars will no longer fund Russia’s war machine by blocking all Russian energy imports.
The bill also strengthens the sanctions, by ensuring that before the ban can be lifted, Russia meets three clear criteria:
That it withdraws its forces from Ukraine;
That it poses no immediate military threat of aggression to NATO; and
And that it recognizes the right of the people of Ukraine to independently and freely choose their own government.
This is an important, bipartisan victory.
There is still more we can do and should do.
We should turn toward unleashing 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.
I yield the balance of my time.