Biden signs sanctions bills targeting Russian oil and trade with Russia and Belarus


The sanctions mark the administration’s latest move to punish the two countries for Russia’s ongoing deadly invasion of Ukraine — and the first time the sanctions in response to the war have come from Capitol Hill.

One bill suspends normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, punishing the countries by paving the way for higher tariffs on imports from them. The other prohibits energy imports from Russia, including oil, coal and natural gas.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had made clear on Thursday that Biden would sign the bills, saying the sanctions were “something the President supports” and “had called for.”

The Senate unanimously passed the two measures Thursday morning. While the House voted overwhelmingly to pass the legislation, the bills faced more opposition there.

The House passed the trade relations provision 420-3 and the other in a 413-9 vote. Only three members — Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Matt Gaetz of Florida — opposed both bills.

While the House had already overwhelmingly passed similar bills, the Senate had been mired for weeks over the legislation. GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky objected to proposed changes to the Global Magnitsky Act, fearing that the new language would give too much power to the executive branch to pursue those accused of human rights abuses.

Senators eventually gave in to Paul’s demands, retaining the more narrowly defined statute regarding human rights violations but made the language permanent despite the wishes of some Republicans.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration announced additional sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institutions and a number of individuals tied to the Kremlin, including Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, as it looks to increase economic pressure on Russia and Putin himself following horrific images from the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

The US also announced sanctions on the wife and daughter of Putin’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov. The United Kingdom later announced its own sanctions, and the European Union was expected to follow suit, ramping up Western pressure on Moscow with the war now in its second month.

CNN’s Daniella Diaz, Alex Rogers, Kristin Wilson, Manu Raju, Betsy Klein, Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.

Quoted from Various Sources

Published for: The Bloggers Briefing