Posts Tagged ‘cornyn’

July 2012

Russia Trade Bill Set to Advance in U.S. Senate, But Passage by August Recess Uncertain

Wall Street Journal

A Senate panel appears headed to back Wednesday the lifting of trade restrictions on Russia, but the White House faces an uphill battle in its effort to win congressional approval before its long-time geopolitical rival joins the World Trade Organization as expected next month.

Several senators and private-sector supporters of legislation to approve permanent, normal trade relations with Russia said the bill is likely to clear its first major hurdle, by winning the backing of the Senate Finance Committee.

But a number of senators cast doubt on whether Congress can pass the bill before lawmakers leave town in early August for recess, raising the risk that U.S. companies will be put at a competitive disadvantage in trying to win Russian business. Rising tensions with Russia over Syria, Iran and human rights issues are complicating passage, with senators of both parties looking to attach measures to the trade bill to punish Russian human-rights violators.

“I’m very concerned about the human rights abuses and the bad behavior of Russia,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas.) Still, he and Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), the minority whip, predicted the Finance Committee would approve the bill.

“I think things are fairly well resolved, that the (trade bill) would be accompanied by the Magnitsky legislation,” said Mr. Kyl. He was referring to a measure, named after a Russian lawyer who died in prison after accusing Russian government officials of fraud, that would freeze assets and deny visas to Russian human-rights abusers.

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