Rep. Andy Biggs among few to oppose bill suspending normal trade with Russia

On Thursday, Rep. Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican, was one of just eight House members to vote against suspending normal trade relations with both Russia and Belarus, citing the fact that he fears President Joe Biden will use a provision to punish opponents of abortion rights.

The entire House of Representatives voted 424-8 to punish Russia further economically over its invasion of Ukraine and Belarus for enabling the attack.

The bill is now headed to the Senate and would impose tariffs on goods from Russia and Belarus, and it requires President Biden to look to remove Russia from the World Trade Organization.

Biggs claimed that Democrats took a measure that was incredibly popular and added a “couple pieces of garbage to give themselves more power.” He specifically cited his opposition to a provision giving Biden expanded authority under an already existing law targeting human-rights abusers. 

Biggs, in a video explaining his vote, noted, “It actually allows our president to go to almost anybody in the world, and if they have a visa, he can take away their visa.”

He continued, “He can freeze their assets regardless of whether they have anything to do with Russia whatsoever. He gets to define what a human-rights abuse is. … It could be used even on people who are pro-life advocates elsewhere in the world if Biden thinks that pro-abortion is a human right.” 

All eight of the other Arizona House members voted for the bill, and all eight members in the House in opposition to the measure are Republicans. This now marks the second time in two weeks that Biggs has voted with a small minority against bills that seek to target Russia in relation to the war in Ukraine.

Last week, Biggs and Rep. Paul Gosar, another Arizona Republican, were among 17 members of the House – including two Democrats – who opposed expanding sanctions to include a ban on Russian oil.




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