House of Representatives to suspend normal trade relations with Russia

WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to strip Russia of its preferential trade status with the United States, moving to further punish the country’s economy in response to Ukraine’s invasion.

The divergent 424:8 vote comes after President Biden announced last week that the United States and its European allies would take new steps to isolate Russia from the global trading system. The law would allow the United States to impose higher tariffs on Russian goods. All of the lawmakers opposing the measure are Republicans.

The bill is the latest in a series of measures lawmakers have passed to support Ukraine and punish Russia for its aggression. Others include a ban on Russian gas and oil products and, perhaps more significantly, a $13.6 billion humanitarian and military aid package.

Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat of New York and majority leader, said he would work to get the bill passed the Senate “quickly”.

The vote in the House of Representatives comes a day after President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivered a stinging speech to Parliament via video link in which he urged lawmakers to do more to help the country. their own and punish Russia. His address, as well as a scathing video he showed of the carnage of Russians in his country, hung heavily on the floor of the House on Thursday as lawmakers debated the trade bill. commercial.

Mr. Zelensky “showed us the absolute horror that Russia is inflicting on the Ukrainian people in front of the whole world,” said Representative Richard E. Neal, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Committee on Ways. and Means said. “And he begged us to do more. With the law standing before us at this hour, we plan to answer his call. “

Ana Swanson contribution report.

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