Senate Finance poised to approve Russia trade bill

The Hill

Senators were poised Wednesday to clear the first hurdle to extend permanent normal trade relations to Russia, but plenty of uncertainty remains.

The Senate Finance Committee is expected to easily approve a measure combining a repeal of Jackson-Vanik, an obsolete Cold War-era provision, along with a human-rights measure that would punish Russian officials involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in prison.

“By enacting PNTR together with the Magnitsky bill, we are replacing Jackson-Vanik with legislation that addresses the corruption and accountability issues that Russia confronts today,” Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said.

The show of bipartisan support — Baucus and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) hammered out the compromise — could boost the bill’s chances of getting through Congress before lawmakers leave for a month-long August recess.

Russia is on track to join the World Trade Organization next month. All that is left for its accession is for President Vladimir Putin to sign the package, which passed through Russia’s upper chamber on Wednesday. Once Putin signs, the clock begins ticking, and Russia will become a member of the WTO within 30 days.

Still, there are plenty of pieces in play with no resolution in sight.

Lawmakers are divided over whether to pass a clean measure repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik amendment, while also holding Russia accountable for what lawmakers say is a dismal human-rights record.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not committed to a floor vote as the deadline rapidly approaches, and said Tuesday that “it’s something that I think we need to take a look at very, very closely.”

Meanwhile, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk are calling for a clean bill that would give President Obama the authority to grant PNTR to Russia.

Finance panel member Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) called on Reid to commit to a vote and House Ways and Means to move the bill.

Kirk has vowed to work with lawmakers on their human-rights concerns. He is slated to meet on Thursday with Baucus and Camp.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) called it “critical” to include the human-rights legislation and the Jackson-Vanik repeal together.

Ways and Means ranking member Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) has said that there is growing support among his colleagues for either attaching the human-rights legislation or at least passing them at the same time. hairy girl займы на карту https://zp-pdl.com/fast-and-easy-payday-loans-online.php zp-pdl.com быстрые займы на карту

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