Biden signs bill limiting trade with Russia
President Biden on Friday signed legislation ending normal trade relations with Russia, the latest step the U.S. has taken to punish Moscow for its military invasion of Ukraine.
Biden also signed a bill codifying his U.S. ban on Russian oil imports, the White House announced in a news release Friday afternoon.
The development comes about a month after Biden, along with other Group of Seven (G-7) nations, vowed to do so. The revocation of permanent normal trade relations with Russia — or any nation — requires an act of Congress.
The legislation Biden signed ends normal trade relations with both Russia and Belarus. It allows Biden to place higher tariffs on Russian imports and will further stifle Russia’s economy, which has already been hard hit by international sanctions imposed due to the war in Ukraine.
The Senate unanimously passed the legislation on Thursday, and the House quickly followed suit in a broad bipartisan vote of 420-3. Three Republicans — Reps. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Thomas Massie (Ky.) — voted against the measure.
Despite bipartisan support, it took several weeks for negotiators to reach an agreement on the legislation to end normal trade relations with Russia. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in particular had objected to language reauthorizing the Magnitsky Act, a human rights sanctions bill.
The U.S. has levied a wave of penalties on Moscow since it invaded Ukraine more than six weeks ago. Sanctions have targeted Russian oligarchs and officials as well as major Russian banks.
Biden also signed an executive order last month to ban U.S. imports of Russian energy, but the legislation passed by Congress codifies that into law.
The Biden administration on Wednesday announced new sanctions targeting Russian President Vladimir Putin’s daughters, the family of Russia’s top diplomat and Russia’s two largest banks.
Biden has accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine by intentionally targeting civilians and recently called for Putin to face trial for those crimes.
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