Jackson-Vanik moves ahead

The Senate's Friday vote to lift the 31-year-old Jackson-Vanik amendment was a huge political victory for Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who led his country's democratic uprising in last year's Orange Revolution.

The House has yet to take action on Jackson-Vanik, which prevented trade normalization with the United States. A spokesman for the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the measure, had no information about Chairman Bill Thomas' (R-Calif.) plans.

The Senate's move comes in the wake of a letter from Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), according to a statement issued by the committee. Rice's letter immediately followed an article in The Hill on a disagreement over Jackson-Vanik between Rice and Thomas.