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GOP pushes to add Russian oil ban into trade bill

Greg Nash

A key GOP senator said on Thursday that Republicans will want to add language codifying a ban on Russian oil imports into a House-passed bill to end normal trade relations with Moscow. 

The House passed legislation on Thursday to give President Biden the power to impose tariffs on goods from Russia and Belarus, require the administration to push for Russia’s removal from the World Trade Organization and renew the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. 

But the bill doesn’t include language codifying Biden’s Russian oil ban. The House passed that as a separate bill earlier this month, which hasn’t yet been taken up in the Senate. 

Asked what changes Republicans would want to make to the House bill, Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the top Republican on the Finance Committee, told The Hill that they are “working on it” but pointed to the inclusion of the Russian oil ban as something he wanted in the trade legislation. 

“My understanding is that they are not going to include … the ban on Russian oil,” Crapo said. “So that’s something that we need to include in it.” 

Crapo, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Reps. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the House Ways and Means Committee chairman and top Republican, had initially announced that they had reached a path forward for a bill that linked the two issues, banning Russian oil imports and suspending normal trade relations with Russia. 

But the language revoking normal trade relations with Russia got dropped from the bill that passed the House earlier this month, which instead just focused on banning Russian oil imports, the world trade organization, and additional sanctions. 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) who helped spearhead a Senate bill banning Russian oil imports, has said he didn’t think a vote on the oil ban was necessary after the White House action. 

Senate Democrats are hoping to be able to quickly move the House legislation to end normal trade relations with Russia. 

“I support the bipartisan bill introduced today in the House, and urge its unanimous passage in the Senate, as soon as possible,” Wyden said in a statement. 

Asked about Crapo’s push to get the oil import ban into the bill, Wyden declined to comment, saying that he wouldn’t discuss conversations with colleagues. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted that the House bill, which passed 424 to 8, would have “broad bipartisan support” in the Senate. 

“I will work with my colleagues to find a way to move it through this chamber quickly,” he added. 

Under Senate rules, any one senator could block an effort to fast-track the House-passed trade bill to a final vote. That could empower Republicans to get a vote on any changes they want in exchange for speeding up the legislation. 

“I’m sure it will get worked one way or the other. But how fast it gets done depends on how much agreement there is and whether we can UC it over here,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Updated at 5:25 p.m.

Tags Charles Schumer Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Thune Kevin Brady Mike Crapo Richard Neal Ron Wyden Russian oil ban US sanctions

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