Freedom First Society

Issue: H.R. 6156 Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law AccountabilityAct of 2012.

Result: Passed 92 to 4, 4 not voting. Became Public Law 112-208 (signed by the President 12-14-12).  GOP and Democrats scored.

Bill Summary: Authorizes the president to lift the Jackson-Vanik discriminatory trade restrictions against the Russian Federation. Establishes permanent normal trade relations with the Russia Federation upon its ascension to the WTO. Calls for sanctions against whoever was involved with the death of anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky.

Analysis:  This act would officially end restrictions on trade with Moscow that had been in place since January of 1975. Although regularly waived by the president, the Jackson-Vanik restrictions on trade with non-market economies had been established by Congress in large part to protest Soviet barriers to Jewish emigration.

Our primary objection to H.R. 6156 is not that it violates the Constitution. Our objection is to the ongoing influence of international elites to use trade to the benefit of favored corporations and America’s enemies.

Once Russia was slated to become a member of the WTO in August of 2012, the globalist corporate CEOs at the Business Roundtable began to champion the repeal of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Act. Doug Oberhelman, Chairman of the Roundtable’s international engagement committee and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. (a CFR corporate member) argued that seizing trade opportunities with Russia would “support the U.S. economy and American jobs.”   Note: Oberhelman is also a director of the influential World Resources Institute, an eco-activist think tank created in 1982 with Insider foundation support.

The internationalist sponsors of this potentially sensitive issue put it off until the lame duck to insulate congressmen from any adverse voter reaction over the poor relations between Washington and Moscow. The lame-duck, GOP-led House initiated the repeal. On November 16, the House overwhelmingly supported the repeal, 365 to 43. Only six Republicans voted nay.   A few weeks later, the measure sailed through the Democratic-controlled Senate by a vote of 92 to 4. [See Senate Vote #223 (12-6-12).] On December 14, President Obama signed it into law.

One representative who spoke against the normalization of trade relations was Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum. McCollum argued that the “legislation sends the wrong message, rewarding [Russia’s] President Putin with trade privileges at a time when he is crushing pro-democracy voices at home and arming the murderous Assad regime in Syria.”

Americans, who have been told repeatedly that the Cold War is over, should also be concerned over Russia’s announced plans to modernize its navy with new aircraft carriers and ballistic missile submarines. The Russian navy says it intends to establish several resupply bases abroad and has been negotiating their reestablishment in Cuba and Vietnam.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

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