Russia trade bill stands at the ready

The Hill

Better late …: After months of delays, the House is prepared to pass a bill normalizing trade relations with Russia before heading off for some turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie.

Pressure from business groups has been intense on the issue, with the National Association of Manufacturers fanning out and knocking on 100 doors on Capitol Hill on Thursday to round up support.

The bill also includes language related to human rights in Russia, which specifically calls for denying U.S. visas to Russian officials involved in the 2009 death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, as well as the freezing of any U.S. assets of those officials.

But Democrats said Thursday that the inclusion of the Magnitsky language makes it easy to support the bill, because it is now much more than just a regular trade bill.

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Democrats can vote for the bill “with good conscience” because of the Magnitsky language. He and other lawmakers are looking to expand the language to include global human rights violations.

Retiring Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) said he is happy to leave on the high note.

“It’s great that we’ll be able to do something with Democrats in the House, Republicans in the House, Democrats in the Senate, Republicans in the Senate and the president of the United States on the same page in support of Russia’s accession to the WTO,” he said.

Supporters of the bill have argued that the measure helps only U.S. businesses and doesn’t provide any additional benefits to Moscow.

After nearly 20 years, Russia joined the World Trade Organization in August, but Congress couldn’t get the bill passed before the elections.

Meanwhile, Russia threatened to “react toughly” if the human rights legislation passes.

Despite the threat, business groups and other supporters say Moscow will have to follow the WTO rules they agreed to or face the consequences of trade cases.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce took similar action earlier this week, trying to get to as many lawmakers as possible as the bill worked its way to the floor.

Meanwhile, House Republicans and Democrats all seemed on the same page during debate over the bill’s rule on Thursday, and the measure is expected to garner an easy majority in passing the chamber on Friday.

The rule passed on a 253-150 vote.

The measure heads to the Senate, where there is a push to complete it by year’s end.

The bill would provide permanent normal trade relations for Russia and Moldova, repealing the obsolete Jackson-Vanik law put into place nearly 40 years ago to spur Jewish emigration or face higher tariffs. онлайн займ payday loan https://zp-pdl.com/how-to-get-fast-payday-loan-online.php www.zp-pdl.com unshaven girls

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