WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday passed a bill to ban imports of oil and gas from Russia, the latest measure in the U.S. government wide effort to economically isolate and penalize the Kremlin for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
The legislation, passed in a 100-0 vote, prohibits the importation of oil, gas, coal and other energy products from Russia. It comes nearly a month after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that mandated essentially the same steps.
The Senate bill codifies Biden’s order into law, making it far more difficult for a future president to reverse it. The legislation passed after having been bogged down in the Senate for weeks.
The oil import ban passed immediately after the unanimous Senate approval of a bill to revoke Russia’s permanent normal trade relations with the United States, often referred to as “most favored nation” status. The legislation would also sever the normal trade relationship with Belarus, a key Russian ally.
“This package is about bringing every tool of economic pressure to bear on Vladimir Putin and his oligarch cronies,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in a statement on the measures.
“Putin’s Russia does not deserve to be a part of the economic order that has existed since the end of World War II,” he said.
Both the oil ban bill and the trade status legislation are expected to get votes in the House later in the day Thursday. Both are expected to pass with overwhelming majorities.
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