AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Rep. Chip Roy was one of eight House Republicans to vote against a bill that paused normal trade activity with Russia and Belarus in response to the war in Ukraine on Thursday.
The bill passed the House in overwhelming fashion 424-8 and now moves to the Senate before President Biden can sign it into law. The bill allows Biden to increase tariffs on goods coming into the United States from those countries and tells the US representative to the World Trade Organization to, “encourage other WTO members to suspend 13 trade concessions to the Russian Federation and the 14 to the Republic of Belarus.”
In a statement, the Austin Republican said he supports the general idea of the bill, but doesn’t like the power it gives the President.
“I could not support legislation that hands over more power from Congress to the executive branch on such an ill-defined subject — a position that is the same today as it was during the previous administration,” the statement said, in part.
The bill also amended the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act signed in 2016. That bill allows the U.S government to sanction any foreign leader implicated in human rights abuses. Andy Biggs (R-Arizona) released a video on Twitter that the amendments give the President a chance to “define what a human rights abuse is.”
Roy said he “likely” would have voted for the bill had it just focused on Russia and Belarus, but he thinks it’s too broad, even though those countries are the only ones mentioned in the bill.
“I have deep concerns about the provisions of this bill that would permanently empower the President with the unilateral authority to issue sanctions against anyone who he deems responsible for an undefined ‘serious human rights abuse,'” the statement said.
The eight representatives who voted against the bill were:
- Chip Roy (R-Texas)
- Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Georgia)
- Matt Gaetz (R-Florida)
- Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado)
- Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky)
- Andy Biggs (R-Arizona)
- Dan Bishop (R-North Carolina)
The bill also refers to Vladimir Putin and Alexsander Lukashenka, the president of Belarus, as “ruthless dictators.”
“Putin is actively killing thousands of innocent people in an unjust war, destabilizing the world economy, and saddling up with China and Iran in the process,” Roy’s statement said. “This body needs to stop throwing together important legislation at the last minute and allow its members to vote on clean, single-issue bills.”
In total, 202 Republicans voted yes to the bill and one, New York’s Lee Zeldin, abstained.