The US House just passed a bill that suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus — the latest effort by US lawmakers to inflict economic pain on Russia for its unprovoked and brutal invasion of Ukraine
The final vote was 424-8 with strong bipartisan support for the legislation, which will next head to the Senate.
Republicans Chip Roy of Texas, Tom Massie of Kentucky, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, and Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin voted against the bill.
It was introduced by House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat, along with the panel's ranking GOP member, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas.
Neal and Brady said in a joint statement on Thursday, "We must do all we can to hold Putin accountable for senselessly attacking the Ukrainian people and undermining global stability. The suspension of normal trade relations is an essential part of our effort to restore peace, save lives, and defend democracy."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said in floor remarks Thursday morning that he would work quickly to move the bill through the Senate once it passed in the House and that he expected the legislation would have "broad bipartisan support."
"Both parties remain united in sending Putin a clear message: His inhumane violence against the Ukrainian people will come at a crippling price and today's step by the House is another way we're making that come true," Schumer said.
More context: Approval of the legislation by the House comes one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional appeal in a virtual address to Congress for increased US assistance as the country faces deadly ongoing attacks from Russia.
US President Joe Biden announced last week that the US, along with the G7 and European Union, would call for revoking "most favored nation" status for Russia, referred to as permanent normal trade relations in the US. The status means two nations have agreed to trade under the best possible terms, which can include lower tariffs and fewer barriers to trade, Biden said. Such a move requires approval from Congress.