The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to strip Russia and its ally, Belarus, of their most favored nation trading status.
In a 424-8 vote, the House passed a bill allowing the U.S. to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus, which would increase tariffs on imports from both countries, The Hill reported. The legislation also lets President Joe Biden impose additional sanctions on goods from Russia and Belarus.
In order to restore normal trade relations, Biden would have to “consult” with both the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees and certify that both Russia and Belarus have agreed to leave Ukraine, are not an immediate threat to NATO countries, and Ukraine has the ability to freely elect its government.
Additionally, the bill would require the Biden administration to press for removing Russia from the World Trade Organization and oppose Belarus joining.
Many countries in the European Union and G-7 have also begun taking steps toward suspending normal trade relations with Russia.
“The Congress today will take another step in lockstep with many of our allies, as is the Biden administration, to tighten our stranglehold on the Russian economy,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday, calling the legislation “an intense action to further isolate Russia and decimate its economy.”
The bill heads to the Senate next. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday that he plans to pass the legislation and send it to Biden’s desk.
The first Ukrainian-born member of Congress, Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), said regarding the bill that Russia “can’t just go kill a bunch of people, destroy cities, kill women and children and then go back and have business as usual. Congress is sending them a very strong message: If they want to have peace, it better be soon and they better get to the table and stop this insanity and killing of the Ukrainian people.”
However, according to The Hill, sanctions and trade experts believe the bill will have a limited effect on the Russian economy.