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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

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CONNOLLY of Virginia. When it comes to the fiscal cliff, I actually hope you're right. I hope you will be so busy that you will have no time to think of anything else. But I do want to congratulate you on this rule and on your tenure here in the House. You will be missed.

The Jackson-Vanik amendment, Mr. Speaker, was a product of the Cold War when the Communist threat was ever-present and when Communist countries had little or no emigration rights. As our friend from California, Mr. Rohrabacher, just said, we need to recognize that today's Russia, while hardly a perfect place when it comes to human rights and political expression, is not the Soviet Union. We need a positive framework--economic, political, social--to move forward.

This PNTR, normalizing trade relations, allows us to wrangle with Russia when we think they're wrong in trade disputes at the World Trade Organization. Absent this normalization, we don't have that leverage. Furthermore, the committee needs to be really commended, as does my colleague from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern), for creating a statutory framework for addressing one of the most egregious human rights violations in modern Russian history. It involves Sergei Magnitsky.

Now, this framework could ultimately be a model, frankly, as we move forward in other parts of the world as well, but it certainly marries a positive trade relationship possibility with vigilant and vigorous human rights enforcement and vigilance. So I commend the committee for marrying the two, for allowing us positively to go forward in our relationship--troubles and all--with modern-day Russia. I urge the passage of the underlying legislation, H.R. 6156.

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