House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the passage of H.R. 6156, the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012:
“With the passage of this bill, American exporters will have greater access to Russian markets, and the United States will be better positioned to enforce trade rules through the World Trade Organization and safeguard a level playing field for our businesses overseas. This will contribute to job creation and new opportunities for our workers here at home. At the same time, it reaffirms America’s commitment to human rights and individual freedom in Russia and throughout the world.
“It is fitting that the Congress is passing this legislation on the third anniversary of the tragic death of Russian anti-corruption activist Sergei Magnitsky. Provisions of this bill, introduced earlier this year as the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act, take an appropriately tough line against those responsible for his death and all who would pull a dark curtain over the aspirations of the Russian people to build free, democratic, and just institutions. As a member and, later, Chairman of the Helsinki Commission in the 1980s, I am proud to have played a central role in promoting human rights in Russia, including pressing for the free emigration of Soviet Jews. This legislation, replacing the historic Jackson-Vanik Amendment with provisions in memory of Sergei Magnitsky, ought to demonstrate to the world that, while the United States looks forward to engaging with Russia in pursuit of new opportunities in trade and international cooperation, we remain firm in our opposition to corruption, the suppression of dissent, and limitations on free press and free speech that threaten to undo the democratic progress Russia has made over the past twenty years.
“I am glad this legislation received strong bipartisan support, passing with a vote of 365-43, and I commend Reps. Sander Levin, Jim McDermott, Joe Crowley, Charlie Rangel, Earl Blumenauer, Jim McGovern, and Gregory Meeks for their hard work on seeing it through to passage.”