WASHINGTON, November 16 (RIA Novosti) – The US House of Representatives included into its Friday’s agenda a vote on a proposed bill that joins together two pieces of legislation on Russia, dealing with trade and human rights issues.
The proposed legislation links the abolishment of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, a Cold War-era document imposing restrictions on trade with Russia, to the so-called “Magnitsky Act.” The act places an asset freeze and visa ban on individuals linked to lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death in detention, as well as on Russian officials suspected of corruption or gross human rights violations. Russia insists that the two issues must not be tied together.
“We just finished, on the House floor, debate on the rule that would allow for the Russian PNTR/Sergei Magnitsky accountability act to be considered on the floor. We’ll vote on the rule later today. We’ll take this issue up tomorrow on the third anniversary of the killing of Magnitsky,” said James McGovern, a co-author of the bill.
After the vote in the House of Representatives, the legislation will need to be approved by the US Senate before President Barack Obama can sign it into law.
The Jackson-Vanik amendment, named after Congressmen Henry M. Jackson and Charles Vanik, was introduced in 1974 to restrict trade with the Soviet Union and other non-market economies until they allowed free emigration.
The restrictions imposed by Jackson-Vanik have been waived every year since 1989, but the amendment itself remains in place and is a thorn in the side of Russia-US relations.