On Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan bill banning Russia’s energy imports, based on an executive order signed by President Joe Biden last month, and added a number of retaliatory measures against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in late February.
In a rare unanimous agreement, the Senate passed the measure last month, dubbing suspended energy imports from Russian law by 100 to 0 votes, after passing the House by 414 to 17 votes.
The 17-page bill would suspend imports of Russian oil and energy products to the United States for 45 days after enacting the law, but would give Biden the power to “lift sanctions on any product necessary in the national interest of the United States.” “
The bill calls on US Trade Representative Catherine Taye to take steps to block Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, including encouraging other WTO members to suspend trade concessions with Russia and move forward to suspend Russia’s participation in intergovernmental organizations.
Finally, the bill would re-approve the Magnitsky Act so that the U.S. president could approve any foreigner designated as “involved in serious human rights violations”; The law was named after a Russian attorney and auditor who documented massive tax fraud by Russian officials, but died in prison in 2009 after being arrested and tortured for tax evasion.
In a statement after the passage, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Or.) Said the measure was “about bringing every tool of economic pressure to bear on Vladimir Putin and his oligarch friends” after Biden signed a similar embargo last month.
The order bans Russian imports of crude oil and certain coal, liquefied natural gas and petroleum products, and prohibits American investors and companies from investing in Russia’s energy sector.
On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to withdraw the Permanent Trade Relations (PNTR) with Russia and Belarus; Both bills are now going to the House for final pass.
The economic downturn has intensified since Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine in late February, amid a growing list of sanctions targeting the Russian government, business and oligarchs. Most recently, the United States banned Americans from making new investments in Russia and on Wednesday imposed a complete blockade on Russia’s two largest banks. The Treasury has also barred American citizens from doing business with Russia’s central bank, finance ministry or national resource fund, and has frozen the assets of US-authorized entities.
Watch for what
After announcing his order last month, Biden acknowledged that the impact of the US oil supply would be to push up gas prices. “Today’s decision is not without costs here at home,” he said. “Since Putin began his military buildup on the Ukrainian border. . . Pump gas prices in the United States have risen by 75 cents, and with this move, it will continue to rise. “
The main critic
“The United States has, of course, declared war on Russia and is waging an economic war,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state-backed Tass news agency before the House pass last month. “Yeah, that’s exactly what it is.”
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