The Senate is expected to take up legislation normalizing trade relations with Russia on Wednesday following the anticipated passage of the defense bill late Tuesday.
Congress is required to eliminate Cold War-era restrictions on trade with Russia if U.S. exports are to benefit from lower tariffs following Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization earlier this year.
The House-passed legislation combines the trade language repealing the nearly 40-year-old Jackson-Vanik provision with human-rights legislation that would punish Russian officials for their involvement in the death of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in prison after reporting government corruption.
The lead sponsor of the human rights bill, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), had hoped to extend the human rights language to violators around the world. The House, however, passed Russia-specific language last month.