Politics

Congress passes ban on Russian oil and gas imports, sending measure to Biden

Key Points
  • Congress voted to ban imports of oil, gas and coal from Russia.
  • The bill, which heads to President Joe Biden's desk, would codify a step Biden took last month to ban Russian energy imports in response to Moscow's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
  • The vote followed overwhelming passage of a separate bill to revoke permanent normal trade relations with Russia.
Rail wagons for oil, fuel and liquefied gas cargo stand in sidings at Yanichkino railway station, close to the Gazprom Neft PJSC Moscow refinery in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, April 27, 2020.
Andrey Rudakov | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Congress 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 Senate passed the legislation in a 100-0 vote earlier Thursday. The House then approved it in a 413-9 vote and sent it to President Joe Biden's desk to sign into law.

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The bill prohibits the importation of oil, gas, coal and other energy products from Russia. It comes nearly a month after Biden signed an executive order that mandated essentially the same steps.

The 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 overwhelming 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.