WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate imposed further economic pain on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, voting unanimously to remove “most favored nation” trade status for Russia and its close ally Belarus in one bill and banning oil imports in another.
The Senate voted 100-0 in favor of the measure removing Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status. Shortly afterward, it backed the energy measure, also by a 100-0 tally.
Senate approval sent the two bills to the House of Representatives, where passage was expected later on Thursday. The next step would be the White House, where President Joe Biden was expected to sign the bills into law.
The House passed both bills earlier this year, but they stalled in the Senate.
The Senate’s Democratic leaders initially did not bring the energy measure up for a vote, prompting Republicans to refuse to pass the trade bill without a guarantee of a vote on the oil legislation.
U.S. law mandates that Congress must approve the change in Russia and Belarus’ trade status.
Some senators also disagreed over language in a provision in the trade bill reauthorizing the Magnitsky Act, which allows sanctions over human rights violations.
Senators announced a compromise late on Wednesday in which they agreed to consider both the trade measure and the energy bill.
The House must reconsider both bills because of technical changes made in the Senate from the legislation passed by the House.
Russia calls the assault on Ukraine a “special military operation.” (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Howard Goller)