Late this afternoon, the House voted overwhelmingly-- 424 to 8-- to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus (HR 7108). The 8 were extreme Trumpists:
Andy Biggs (AZ)
Dan Bishop (NC)
Lauren Boebert (NC)
Matt Gaetz (FL)
Marjorie Traitor Greene (FL)
Glenn Grothman (WI)
Thomas Massie (KY)
Chip Roy (TX)
Suffolk County coward Lee Zeldin was in the chamber and refused to vote, neither wanting to offend Trump and Putin nor offend the huge Ukrainian community in New York, where he's running for governor. So he offended everyone.
Associated Press reported that "The broad trade action, which would revoke 'most favored nation' status for Russia, is being taken in coordination with the European Union and Group of Seven countries. The House vote came one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded with Congress and U.S. allies to do more to deter Russia... Tariffs make imports less competitive by increasing their costs to U.S. companies. Timothy Brightbill, a partner at Wiley Rein LLP who focuses on international trade law, said the effects on American consumers should be modest in most sectors as companies can generally turn to other suppliers. He said it’s important for U.S. supply chains not to run through Russia any more and that consumers understand that."
The Senate will take the bill up in several days and it is likely to pass, although with so many Trumpists lurking around in teh Senate, you never know. Foreign Policy reported today that Florida Trumpist Rick Scott is one of several Republicans doing Putin's dirty work on Capitol Hill. "Republican lawmakers, including Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Roger Marshall of Kansas, have placed holds on the confirmation of several key Biden administration appointees with critical roles in addressing Ukraine’s crisis, including top officials destined for the U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development as well as who are responsible for managing U.S. policy on sanctions, humanitarian relief, refugees, and nuclear and chemical security. Despite the outward show of unity toward Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky following his address to Congress, the nominee blockade shows Washington’s partisan divide is still managing to stymie the White House’s efforts to mobilize the world behind a coherent diplomatic, military, and legal strategy to deter Russian President Vladimir Putin from continuing and expanding his military conquest of Ukraine, even at a time when most Democrats and Republicans in Congress share the goal of holding Russia’s leader accountable for atrocities during the war."
“The number of highly relevant senior officials who are stuck on the Senate floor right now, whose expertise is needed in the current crisis, is pretty frustrating,” said one senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak openly on the matter.
On Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sought an unanimous consent vote on the Senate floor to immediately confirm four nominees, saying their work is vital to achieving U.S. aims in Ukraine.
Scott, who has placed the largest number of holds, has blocked their confirmation, demanding that the Biden administration first take action on an unrelated issue: the Cuban government’s practice of siphoning the salaries of Cuban doctors exported to other Latin American countries.
Menendez accused Scott and other Republicans of undermining the Biden administration’s effort to confront one of the greatest threats to global democracy and diminishing the United States’ capacity to assist the millions of Ukrainian civilians who have been driven from their homes by relentless Russian airstrikes and artillery fire.
“I’m deeply troubled that the junior senator from Florida is once again obstructing the Senate’s responsibility to provide advice and consent on presidential nominees, nominations not only preventing us from fulfilling our constitutional duties, but in this case, moreover, he is single-handedly undermining the ability of the United States government to respond fully to Russia’s brutal invasion,” Menendez said.
“It’s like helping Putin at the end of the day,” he added.