Congress passes bills to suspend trade relations with and ban energy imports from Russia πŸ’₯πŸ’₯πŸ’₯

The Senate unanimously voted for both bills. The House passed the first 420-3 and the second 413-9. Only three members — Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Matt Gaetz of Florida — opposed both bills.

They now go to President Joe Biden for his signature, after he called for the punitive measures last month.

While the House had already overwhelmingly passed similar bills, the Senate had been mired for weeks over the legislation, making some changes and requiring the House to vote again on Thursday. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 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.

The Senate 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.

“Today, as Putin commits war crimes against the people of Ukraine, unanimous passage of permanent GloMag reauthorization sends a strong signal to him and other dictators and kleptocrats that there will be personal consequences for human rights violators and corrupt actors,” said Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin. “The United States of America sets no time limit on defending human rights and battling corruption.”

The trade relations and energy ban bills are the latest efforts by Congress to crack down on Russia and help Ukraine during the conflict. Last night, the Senate passed a bill to more quickly provide military aid to Ukraine.

The moves from Congress come a day after the administration announced sanctions on Russia’s largest financial institutions and 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 as well, ramping up Western pressure on Moscow as the war enters its second month.

This story has been updated with additional developments Thursday.

Congress passes bills to suspend trade relations with and ban energy imports from Russia

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