On Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed legislation that would downgrade Russia and Belarus’ trade status and also agreed unanimously on a bill to ban Russian energy imports. Later in the day, the House also passed the legislation, sending it to President Biden’s desk.
The Senate voted 100-o on both bills, demonstrating the bipartisan support for the sanctions campaign against Russia. The Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act strips the two nations of their “most favored nation trade status,” which paves the way for tariffs and other trade restrictions.
The Suspending Energy Imports from Russia Act reinforces an executive order signed by President Biden last month that bans the import of Russian oil, coal, and natural gas. Biden signed the order as Americans were facing record-high gas prices.
The legislation banning energy imports passed in the House in a vote of 413-9, while the trade relations legislation had less resistance and passed in a vote of 420-3. The no votes for the trade relations bill were Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
While the US continues to ramp up the economic pressure on Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t appear to be phased. The Russian leaders’ approval rating reached 83% in March, up from 69% in January. There’s no doubt the sanctions campaign is hurting Russia’s economy, but the pain is being felt by ordinary Russians.