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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 6156, Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal and Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROHRABACHER. I rise in support of the rule and of this legislation, and note that the classified nature of that margarita formula should never be disclosed to an enemy of the United States, of course; but we will be glad to transmit that information to colleagues on the other side of the aisle in a spirit of bipartisanship.

I do rise in support of this rule and H.R. 6156, the legislation to grant permanent normal trade relations status to Russia.

During the 1980s, as it was just mentioned, I worked for Ronald Reagan in the White House and was part of a team dedicating ourselves to bringing down the Soviet dictatorship. I might add that Dave Dreier was an ex officio member of that team.

Today's Russia is not yesterday's Soviet Union. That's the most important message. Over 20 years of reform have created an imperfect country, yes, but also a new Russia with a relative free press and churches that were once closed by the Communists which are now filled with those who would gather to worship God.

Many here in the United States have not appreciated the dramatic change and continue to view Russia as if it were the Soviet Union 30 years ago.

Well, what we do today is long overdue. Our protracted refusal to grant Russia permanent normal trade relation status has been counterproductive and hypocritical. Counterproductive for years because it's been an unnecessary barrier to better bilateral relations between our two countries. Hypocritical because over a decade ago we had rushed to give most favored nation status to Communist China, which still continues to be the world's worst human rights abuser.

All the arguments made to refuse it to Russia have always applied one hundredfold to Communist China. However, I have not heard the critics of this bill calling for an end to our trade status with Communist China, which I might add, human rights in China is worse today than when we granted most favored nation status to them.

If we want to have a real debate about trade, the place to start is with Communist China and not be looking at a democratic Russia. PNTR for China has cost millions and millions of jobs over the decade. Our trade relations with Russia will benefit both of us, both the people of the United States, as well as the Russian people.

So how then can we justify such a pro-Communist China policy, which has had no political reform, and not giving it to Russia, which has had dramatic political reform?

Two decades ago, while I was working in the White House, I was arguably one of the Soviet Union's worse enemies. But my boss, Ronald Reagan, never wanted the people of Russia and the people of the United States to be enemies. He envisioned, once the Communist Party had been discarded, that our two peoples would one day be friends and trading partners and, yes, even allies.

Russian society has moved far from the Cold War. It is past time that we do the same. We need to reach out to them, stand together against an alarming rise of power in Communist China and against radical Islamic terror, which targets Russians as well as Americans.

Thus, I encourage my colleagues to join me in voting and pass this legislation.

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