US senators try to avoid weeks delay in Russian trade action

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators scrambled on Tuesday to compromise to avoid further delays before passing legislation repealing Russia and Belarus’ “most favorable” trade status over the invasion of Ukraine, after Republican lawmakers blocked attempts to pass it quickly. .

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator Rand Paul were trying to reach a compromise that would allow the measure to pass quickly, rather than through a “regular order,” a process that could take weeks.

The bill stalled in the Senate despite lawmakers insisting they wanted to show a united front in support of the government in Kyiv, more than a month after the Russian invasion.

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Under US law, the change in business status must be approved by Congress.

The legislation has strong bipartisan support, after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed 424-8 earlier this month.

But in the Senate, it has been embroiled in a partisan fight, first over Russian oil imports and more recently over abortion rights. Read more

The measure passed by the House also authorizes the Magnitsky Global Human Rights Accountability Act, which Cardin penned, which allows for sanctions for human rights violations.

But the redelegation has a slight change in wording. It now deals with “gross” violations of human rights, having previously dealt with “gross” violations.

Magnitsky’s new language came from a 2017 executive order from former Republican President Donald Trump. But Paul said the new language in the bill gives the president significant power to impose penalties for human rights abuses, including that it could be used to punish anyone who denies a woman access to abortion.

Supporters of the legislation argue this.

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(Reporting by Patricia Gingerly) Editing by Alistair Bell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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